I’m getting old. I knew this already; more gray hairs are popping up, there are crows feet when I smile (and even when I’m not smiling), and permanent dark bags under my eyes. Every once in a while, however, something I do strikes me as downright elderly. Tonight, it was dinner.
Before kids I would have dinner around seven or later depending on work schedules. With my first born, I tried to wait on dinner until Sean came home. I soon found small children do not understand the value of waiting to eat until the whole family is home for stimulating dinner conversation. So, she got dinner around six thirty and I waited to eat with my husband. Eventually, six thirty became too late for her, so dinner for her was at six, and still I waited.
At some point, probably after reading too many parenting magazines, I decided it was important to eat with her, even if I wasn’t hungry. She could learn table manners by observation, and that stimulating conversation is supposed to encourage verbal skills and a strong sense of self-worth, or so I read. So six o’clock was dinner time for Sammy and Mommy, and eventually Ella, when Daddy wasn’t home. Daddy was just going to have to dine alone on lukewarm food when he got home. Eventually, my body became accustomed to the earlier meals, and anticipated them with a growling stomach.
Lately, the girls have been whining, mouths agape, like baby birds for food before six. I have found myself making dinner earlier and earlier. First, five forty-five, then five thirty, and tonight I found us eating at five fifteen. Although the girls were the impetus for the earlier mealtime, I have to admit, I’m hungry, too. I feel hunger pains and look at the clock, only to realize it’s only four thirty. Maybe on a day I’m not in the mood to cook or am looking for an escape from the house, the girls and I could happily join the old people at the local Denny’s for the early bird special.