Before I became a parent, I underestimated the monumental task that is feeding my kids every day. From day one up to now, it still overwhelms me. You mean kids have to eat three times a day? And they want snacks? And this happens 365 days a year?
That’s a lot of feeding when you have three kids! Now that my youngest is about to head off to college, I’m finding more and more enjoyment out of it. Especially on the non-busy days where we can sit down together and use mealtime as an opportunity to connect as a family.
Breakfast is especially entertaining. Having just woken up, the kids are unloading everything from those tiny brains and sharing it with the family. Here are some of the funny and important things you might hear if you sat down at our breakfast table in the morning:
1. The dream they had the night before.
These sweet-but-convoluted tales are often too involved for my brain to handle at 7 a.m., but I am still fascinated by what goes on in their minds when they are sleeping. My kids just love telling me the crazy adventure they experienced in the night, and sometimes I find their stories about a fight they had with their sibling in their dream quite entertaining. I mean, they even fight in their sleep!
2. ‘Mom, I forgot to tell you about my school project. P.S., it’s due today.’
On school days, it’s common for my kids to scarf down a bowl of oatmeal and suddenly remember that thing they told me about a week ago. “Remember, Mom? I told you three weeks ago that in three weeks I had to do this thing?” Umm. No. Sorry. I don’t remember that. But at least they remembered, right? Because at the last minute is better than never!
3. A talk about table manners.
My kids are still navigating the world of eating and learning how to be … well, civilized. You might hear a reminder (or 20) about not touching your sibling. Facing forward. And not balancing our cups right next to our elbows. But, overall, I think they are learning. The 9-year-old reminds the 4-year-old often to chew with his mouth closed and to not burp without saying excuse me.
4. Funny kid jokes.
My kids love telling jokes. Sometimes, they are most definitely not appropriate for the breakfast table.
Cue 4-year old: Whatcha eatin’?
4-year old: Where’d ya get it?
7-year-old: A doggie dropped it!
I mean, yuck! But at least we have some laughs in the process. As long as they keep eating while they laugh, right? Reminding them to pick up a spoon and actually put the food in their mouths happens often during joke time.
5. ‘What if’ scenarios.
“What if the whole world was made of candy? Clouds could be made out of marshmallows. Roads could be made out of chocolate! What if rivers were made out of lemonade?” My kids love to imagine these (sugary) scenarios while eating. And I get a kick out of hearing their ideas like, “What if we lived on the moon and all we could eat was cake and ice cream?” And there is always a follow up from a sibling like, “No. What if we could only eat snow cones all day long?” — followed by laughter.
6. Favorite memories.
On the mornings that we do have time to slow down, my kids love talking about their own memories and my memories of them from when they were babies. Especially if they involve me telling a story about how silly they were. “On your first birthday, you were so tired, you just put your face right into your cake because you couldn’t even pick it up with your hands!” (True story.) They will just ask and beg for more stories. “What about me? What did I do as a baby?” It’s a fun way to start the day.
7. Demands for the short order cook — AKA Mom.
In our house, the kids are usually perched at the bar eating breakfast while I stand on the other side filling demands. Or reassuring them that they can, in fact, put a blueberry in their mouth because they might just like it. “But I didn’t want it cut like that!” is pretty par for the course, along with, “More, please!” And it’s definitely not uncommon for them to ask multiple times for a glass of milk while I’m actually pouring the glass of milk. Or ask for a new spoon because their current spoon is “too shiny.”
Keeping three little mouths satisfied while I eat my own breakfast standing up sometimes makes me a little crazy. But, I know the days of silly what-if scenarios and constant demands are numbered. So, I try to remind myself that one day the breakfast table won’t be so lively, and I’ll miss every part of it.
What’s breakfast like at your house? What do your kids like to talk about at the breakfast table? Tell me in the comments! I want to know! A funny story may be featured in a future Atlantic Blog.