Why it has taken me so long to figure this out, I HAVE NO IDEA. We have a lot of kids, which means there are many requests and many voices at the dinner table. In fact, sometimes I’m so sound sensory overloaded at the end of the day I have to turn off the background music.
I generally love family style serving but things have to run differently when I’m solo. Even with helper hands, it just takes too many trips to the table to bring each serving dish, plates & utensils, and drinks for everyone. Inevitably, just as I sit down to join the family and take my first bite, I hear “Mama, I don’t have a drink. Can I have some water please”….. this is a cascade and the others come up with their own requests. Let’s just put a disclaimer out there: I am an OT and I preach independence. My kids are pretty independent and very capable of getting their own water. There are also frequent spills. I know spilling is part of the learning process but realistically, when I’m outnumbered 4:1 and I know I have to get them all to bed on my own, I JUST CAN’T HANDLE A PREVENTABLE SPILL. I haven’t even mentioned fitting in home reading, piano practice, nor finding the elusive overdue library book, signing agendas, and filling out forms that they forgot to give me 3 days prior and now they are due tomorrow.
SO, I’ve started leaving a pitcher of water on the table, along with glasses next to it. And it’s worked! My apologies if this is common knowledge – I’m just a little slow to the party.
New plan for solo dinners:
- Plate kid dishes in the kitchen and each kid brings their own plate to the table.
- Permanent water pitcher on the table with glasses next to it.
- Little vase with a bunch of forks permanently at the table.
Already, this has prevented at least 3 get-ups for me during dinner. Refills are right there and the kids can do it themselves with less likelihood of spills. Win-win-win!