Sometimes I sit at the dinner table with my kids and wonder, “Who’s responsible for these kids?!” Oh right, that would be me! Allow me to set the scene. Sunday afternoons in the summer often find me at my parents’ house. My kids love to hang out with their grandparents, and especially love Grandma and Grandpa’s pool in the summer. Our house was the neighborhood hangout when my sister and I were kids. We lived outside of town, and why trek over hill and dale to the community human stew – er, I mean pool, when we could swim in the back yard. No brainer for us and all of the neighborhood kids. There has been a pool at my parents” house for 35 years now – every so often my dad rumbles about getting rid of it, but I think that he secretly likes having people take him up on the open invitation to “come out and swim.”
If I play my cards right, an afternoon of swimming often turns into dinner…my dad also loves to cook, and doesn’t know how to cook for less than a battalion. There’s always enough for everyone, especially if my daughter has been dropping “subtle” hints since church about what she wants for supper. So, like many other Sunday’s, we sit down to eat. Here’s the typical arrangement:
So far so good, the meal proceeds without incident apart from the resident space invader constantly bleeding across into my area to alert me that she needs something cut or passed to her. We are finishing up, Dad and Mini Me have left the table and #1 Son has begun taking dishes to the sink when I hear my sister start wheezing and look over to see her shoulders shaking as she gasps for breath saying, ” ‘Nice phallic meal‘ he says.” Evidently #1 Son made an in sotte voce editorial comment about the menu of corn on the cob and bratwurst as he passed by her on his way to the sink.
Do other peoples’ kids talk like this? Is it normal that a soon to be 15 year old high school freshman even knows the word phallic, much less uses it in the proper, albeit questionably appropriate, context? It’s probably my fault for talking about ancient culture too much! I will own that we have pretty open dialogue policy in our house…not much is out of bounds topically, although I do try to keep conversations to an age appropriate level around Mini Me….however, since she seems to be a 26 year old woman living in an 8 year old girl, I’m constantly challenged.
Part of the problem, I think, is that my kids seem to have inherited some irresistible impulse to instigate mayhem. They know what acceptable boundaries are, but they are constantly inspired to cross them and see what happens…ask me about the time Mini Me dropped the F-bomb on Christmas Eve…they know better, they just go ahead and do it anyway. One thing is certain, even when dinner conversation is more tame – this past Sunday included monkeys and their disposable thumbs and the average weight of adult giraffes (1600-1800 lbs) – life is rarely boring chez moi!