Monday, August 29, 2016

Where Is Your Table?

This has been my dining room table for the last three months:

It's actually in the eat-in portion of our kitchen because our formal dining area is used as a playroom at the moment (as it's been for the past five years). Yes, that's a child size table and chairs instead of a full size table and chairs. 'Omg,' you're saying to yourself as you stare at your computer screen. It's cool, I get it. I can also see the look on your face. You're either incredibly put off by something that doesn't effect you, you think I'm insane, or you feel bad that we don't have a bigger house. So let me tell you a story before something comes out of your mouth.

At the beginning of summer I decided I didn't want my full sized dining room table. I had school age kids coming for daycare for the summer and I've been through the fighting over who got to sit where, dropping cups from the waist high table creating a huge splattered mess, or kids falling out of their chairs. I just didn't want to deal with it.  We made a trip to IKEA and purchased a few side tables (they're taller, larger, and quite a bit cheaper than the actual kids tables) and several kids stools. They were then set up where my regular sized tables and chairs once sat.

All summer long the only thing I had to worry about was fighting over what color of stools the kids wanted to sit in. Even that was easily solved by rotating colors. Now let me tell you about family dinners. Typically at family dinners we had a lot of the same issues that I didn't want to deal with at daycare: falling out of chairs, jumping out of the chairs as soon as I gave them permission to leave their seats, playing in their seats. Family dinners had become nothing I looked forward too. We're a family that eats together 6 or 7 nights a week. I at least wanted meal times to be pleasurable.

Our family dinners at the new tables included all of us sitting on kid size stools or all of us sitting on the floor around the tables (the minis refer to it as our Japanese style of eating). After the first few nights of our new eating style, our family dinners became enjoyable again! The kids actually sat still and ate the meal with us. They shared about their days, they could actually reach the center of the table when asked them to pass something. There were no more huge spills and no one fell out of their seats (unless you count that one time I completely missed the little stool I was attempting to sit down on). I actually LIKE eating meals with my kids now. I actually look forward to it at the end of the day. 

I'm not sure if it was the change of pace or coming down to their level, but there's absolutely no fighting about dinner, at dinner, or over how much they have to eat for dinner (or any meal for that matter). Do I expect it to last? Probably not but the peaceful dinners have been nice. Oh so often we're not willing to change things up because of what society says. I realize it's not every day that you walk into a house that doesn't have a full size dining room table and chairs or find someone that has willingly given their's up. However, sometimes change, a different change, is just the right change. Parenthood is largely about survival and these kids size tables and chairs have given me sanity. At least at meal times.