A few months ago, we tried to transition Calvin’s adjustable high chair so he could sit at the table. We used it that way for a few meals but it didn’t make sense. We had to remove one of the matching dining chairs to make room and so much food was still getting trapped in the high chair that having it behind the table meant it was harder to get to and harder to clean. We put it back off to the side and got back to business with one family member just a few feet away at meal time.
Clearly, we want to eat together (especially at dinner time) and I have been brainstorming ways to make our family dinners less combative. Calvin being off to the side and Oscar experiencing what I will call a picky “phase” (because I refuse to accept its permanence) made dinner-time a real struggle.
I’ve been reading some expert suggestions and one that stuck with me was serving dinner “family style” where you put everything in the middle of the table and let everyone serve themselves. It’s so traditional and simple, yet somehow our family had gotten away from this idea. I typically make everyone’s plates (with the exception of my husband) and they either eat it or they don’t.
So tonight, I put a few extra items out on the table and I let everyone choose what they wanted to eat. It was minimally more work for me but the results were so worth it! I told Oscar he had to choose at least four foods. To my complete surprise, he actually chose pasta and sausage and two types of crackers. I definitely didn’t see the pasta choice coming. He happily took bites of everything and earned “seconds” where he chose half a banana and applesauce.
I am SO pleased with this method! In fact, even though I served up more options, I think less food was wasted because we didn’t put as much on our plates to begin with. I saved the leftovers and we are good to go for lunch tomorrow!
On top of that, we ditched the high chair in favor of a booster seat in a real chair at the table. We were actually able to complete the circle with all four of us holding hands and giving thanks for our food. In fact, Calvin asked us to pray at least 4 times, so this food is COVERED.
I feel like saying, I’m winning!! I win! I’m a winner!! (points to everyone who said that in a “What About Bob” voice)
Right, so the moral of the story? RELAX Mama.
I am slowly but surely learning to loosen my grip and go with the flow. I’m learning what works for us as a family and what is just forced. I love that we can all be at the table together and still be individuals. I actually don’t care if Oscar doesn’t like what I cook as long as he is eating something healthy. We’re figuring things out.
It feels great to finally have a meal together in peace.