Come and get it…

February 15, 2009
I’ve seen the evening meal depicted in a thousand films and it always looks like such a pleasant experience. The family gathered around the table- passing the corn, smiling, discussing the day’s events. I want that. If the guys could just hold it together for the family meal I would be content. Let there be calm, friendly discussion while we break bread- just 30-minutes of peace, love and happiness. But I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon. The only thing our family meal’s missing to be considered a full fledged circus is a Volkswagen full of clowns. Here is a short dialog taken almost verbatim from a meal about a week ago (cue circus music)
Dad/Mom- “Mack how was school today?”

Mack- “Oh, it was really good……….” (this is where Mack goes into a lengthy diatribe dissecting every facet of his day in ass-numbing detail- from the minute we parted ways to the minute he returned. Mack likes to dominate conversations in our family. Of course he attempts to do this while eating green beans with his fingers- if he stopped talking long enough to exercise good table manners someone else might get a word in edgewise.)

Dad- “Mack eat your food with a utensil like an intelligent Ape”

(Mack picks up fork in one hand a green bean in the other. This is not the hill that I will die on today, I accept the compromise. On Mack’s 9th straight minute of dialogue Cayden gets antsy and interjects.)

Cayden- “My best friend Mario threw up in school today”

Mack- (indignant) “Dad, Cayden interrupted”

Dad- “Cayden, don’t interrupt and please don’t talk about throw up at the table.”

Cayden- “Daaaaad! Mack won’t let me talk- he’s all blah, blah, blah, blah, blah”. (this goes on for several seconds because Cayden really likes to say blah, blah- plus he loves to flick his brother‘s stones.)

Mom- “You’re right, Mack let Cayden have a turn.”

Mack- “But, but I was going to tell you about who I sat next to on the bus ride to school……(Dad holds up one finger to single the start of the time-out countdown) No fair! (grumpy expression ensues)

Dad- “The floor is yours Cayden.”

Cayden- “Why? What do I do with the floor?”

Dad- “What do you want to tell us about your day son?”

Cayden- “It came out his nose holes”

Dad- “What came out of whose nose holes”

Cayden- “Puke came out of Mario’s nose holes”

Mack- “Coooooool!”

Dad- “Cayden, what did I say about that talk at the table?”

Cayden- “I don’t know, was that before you told me to take the floor somewhere?

Mom- “Can we talk about something else”

Mack- “I can”

Dad (thinking)- “No shit, Mack can definitely do that- but there is no guarantee we’ll be able to get him to stop ”

“Splash!”- (Can’t think of a better way to articulate a full glass of milk spilling onto our way to-expensive dining room table.)

To note, you can count on at least two things happening every meal. First, something is going to spill- most likely a full glass of fluid. Next, Cayden will need to go to the bathroom.

Mack- “I got it” (attempt is made to mop up a quart of milk with a single 2-ply napkin)

Dad- “No Mack I have it. No one move or speak until I get this mopped up.”

Cayden- “Dad I have a question to tell you, can you get me a bowl of Fruit Loops while you’re up?” (Every time Cayden wants to ask a question he must announce it- and he doesn’t ask you a question, he tells it to you.)

Mack- “Yeah, me too Dad, Fruit Loops would be good.”

Dad- “You bet guys, why don’t I grab you a couple of gallons of latex paint and a cutting torch while I am at it that way if any part of the dining room is left standing you can finish the job?” (My kids get sarcasm when they want to- but it has to benefit them)

Mack/ Cayden- “What?” (confused look on their faces- but I can tell Mack likes the idea of having a cutting torch at the dinner table.)

Dad- “No fruit loops eat your dinner”

Cayden- “But I’m full Dad”

Mom- “Then why did you ask for a bowl of fruit loops?“

Cayden- “Because I didn’t fill up this part of my stomach (points to belly button), all the healthy food goes here (points to his ribs) and that part is all full up“

Mack- “That’s not how it works Cayden, you’re a butt wipe” (the word butt is so often used in our home to describe each other that I no longer consider it an insult so I felt no need to correct Mack- had he said ass-wipe things would have gone much differently)

Cayden- “Dad, gotta go the bathroom.“ (mention of the word butt must have reminded Cayden that he should check his immediately)

(Cayden going to the bathroom during dinner is just one of those things that he consistently does. Personally I believe he hides in the bathroom to avoid finishing his dinner- but I have no proof. What I do know is that he rarely relieves himself when he’s in there- he sings, he dances, he reads Muscle and Fitness, stares at himself in the mirror and then he runs water- and when we call for him he usually returns)

Mack- “Can I have more milk?”

Dad- (goes and gets milk) “here you go”

Mack- “It’s not chocolate milk.”

Dad-”A thousand pardons Sahib, the prince’s chocolate cow has gone dry and all that remains in the kingdom is the meager vanilla variety.”

Cayden returns to the table and demands that I feel his hands, which happen to be sopping wet. This is to prove to me that he washed them.

Mack- “He didn’t wash his hands he just ran water over them.”

Cayden- “Did so they’re wet and I used soap!”

Mack- “No you didn’t!”

Cayden- “I did too Mack- you’re getting me frustulated (sic) you better shut your pie-hole” (I take credit for teaching that one to the guys, they know a lot of other cool Marine jargon too)

Mack- “What ever” (head tilt, hand wave and sass- Mack must have Tivo’ed Jerry Springer again.)

Cayden- “I’m going to kick your butt so hard you’re gonna be wearing it as a hat” (Cayden’s personal favorite comeback)

Mack- “Oh Yeah, I’ll pull off your ear and shove it in your back pocket so you can listen to me kicking your butt.” (Mack counters with a threat of his own)

Mom/Dad- “Boys stop, your talking privileges have just been revoked.”

All said and done that was about a 15 minute glimpse into the Groah family meal experience. If I continued it would be more of the same. Bottom line Connie and I can usually go the entire meal without saying a complete sentence to each other- it’s non-stop shenanigans from start to finish. Revoking speaking privileges normally allows us to get out about half a sentence but then the boys start making faces at each other, humming guitar hero riffs, gargling with their milk- basically anything they can to disrupt, deter and deny sensible conversation.

What I do bring to the conversation on a consistent basis are these two statements:

1. “Cayden eat your dinner”- otherwise he would forget why he is sitting at the table.

2. “Mack eat like a human being“- Because he becomes so engrossed with fueling his high octane metabolism that he often forgets he’s part of the human race.

These two statements have become so ingrained in my DNA that the last time Connie and I got out alone together I was tossed from a sushi place for demanding that all of it’s patrons eat with a fork and knife. What can I say, we must have been dining with a bunch of DINKs (Duel Income No Kids) that night- otherwise they would have been more understanding.



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Sherri Winstead posted the following on February 15, 2009 at 12:53 pm.

So true. Mine don’ t spill things, but my little scrawny guy will NOT stay in his seat the entire time to SAVE HIS LIFE! He’s constantly up and down to go look at the tv or do a little spin of some kind.

And, I forgot to say happy birthday in my last post!

Carrie posted the following on February 15, 2009 at 10:23 pm.

that was absolutely hilarious… brought back lots of memories.

there’s nothing little boys won’t discuss at dinner.

Jen posted the following on February 16, 2009 at 2:56 am.

Ugh! I have just lost all hope of having it easier when my girls get older. I leave the dinner table never wanting to do again, yet I torture myself night after night with the family dinner.

Heather posted the following on February 19, 2009 at 12:55 am.

Shane, I have tears streaming down my face!!! This is hysterical!!!

Jeremiah posted the following on May 26, 2009 at 12:29 am.

This one had me laughing pretty hard. I love your writing style and sense of humor.

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