Dinner of the Absurd
Sometimes, the absurdity of a situation really gets to me. Having the kids around makes this more of a problem, because laughing is simply not always appropriate. Here’s a case in point.
The other night we had pasta for dinner. When I say "we", I mean J, N, and I. C was refusing to eat. He would play with his food (and occasionally bang on the table), but he wasn’t actually eating. He does this occasionally for no apparent reason.
N, on the other hand, was starving. He also started a new way of communicating. Instead of his usual, he was striking a very odd pose. There’s no elegant way for me to describe this, so I’ll walk you through it. Make a fist out of your right hand and hold it so the back of your fist is about two inches in front of your forehead just to the right of your right eye Now stretch your left arm out and up, with the elbow only slightly bent, as if you were reaching for something just above your head and three feet in front of you. Your left hand should be forming a claw sort of shape, with the fingers opening and closing.
Now open your mouth, squint your eyes, and make a loud "AAHHH!" noise.
That’s what N was doing to try to request more food. Got it? Good.
Here’s a rough transcript of the end of dinner. J & C have been arguing about whether C is going to eat for most of the meal.
J: "C, I need you to eat some more food."
C: "No! I’m all done."
J: "No, you have to eat some more food."
N Strikes his pose and shouts: "AAHHH!"
J gives N some pasta and turns back to C: "3 Bites. I need you to take 3 bites."
C pushes his pasta away:"All Done. Right Daddy? All Done."
Me (watching N try to eat and still maintain his pose): "Listen to your mom."
C: "No! You eat!"
J (getting a little angry): "C, I need you to eat some food."
C (smiling): "Are you mad, Mama? Are you mad?"
J: "No. I just need you to eat – "
C: "Mama’s mad. Yes, mama’s mad."
J (giving N some more pasta): "I’m not mad!"
C (looking at me and nodding): "Mama’s angry. Why’s mama angry? I don’t know." (shrugs)
J (glaring at me): "C, listen. You need to eat something. Would you rather have peanut butter? Daddy can get you some peanut butter and jelly?"
C: "Mmm… No. I go to time out"
J & Me: "Huh?"
C (nods): "Yes. C go to time out. Need to think about it."
Me (giving N some pasta): "Why do you need to go to time out?"
C: "Mama’s angry. I need to think about it. No more food. All done!"
I couldn’t help myself. I started to laugh. Having N striking poses on one side of me while C’s on the other side explaining why he has to go to time out… well, I started to chuckle. I looked at J, shrugged helplessly, struck N’s new pose, and shouted "AAHH!"