“No, no, no, we don’t throw our food on the floor,” I find myself saying for the zillionth time, wagging my finger. I thought that when my toddler Henry mastered the fine art of cutlery he would stop flinging pasta all over the place, but I was sorely mistaken. Now it’s a dinner game. He flings, then he sassily wags his finger at us.
One of these days, it would be really nice if post-dinner cleanup didn’t involve muttering, bent over on hands and knees. I have to be honest, though. My wonderful husband Cory does most of the floor work. Except for when it’s quinoa for dinner.
Cory once left me over quinoa. “Why would you ever… The particles… I can’t…” he sputtered, before picking up Henry and leaving the house. I cleaned it up that time. We haven’t had quinoa since.
Another of our dinner games is called “Dump.” Here’s how you play.
1. Henry says, “Dump?”
2. He dumps his drink on his plate, laughing maniacally.
3. We take the drink away while he pretends to cry.
4. We wag our fingers and say, “No, no no. We don’t dump our drink.”
5. Henry wags his finger back at us and says, “Dink.”
6. We stifle giggles.
It’s hard to enforce rules when we find him just so hilarious. Perhaps its our own juvenile senses of humor, but when he sticks both fingers up his nose and hums, when burps when we tell him not to be rude, it’s basically impossible for us to keep straight faces.
We feign disapproval when he forces out a toot at the dinner table, but inevitably crack a smirk when he then puts his hand over his mouth like he’s shocked.
I’ll mock-angrily grab a fork out of his hand if he’s banging it on my grandmother’s heirloom dining table and push his high chair into the corner for a time out, but seconds later he’s bent in half trying to wipe his spaghetti hands on the wall, and I have to smile, if exasperatedly.
We know it’s important and that we are raising a future adult, but discipline just doesn’t come naturally to either of us, it seems. Cory’s attempts at seriousness are to leap from his chair, point at a carrot on the floor and, speaking with a deep tremor in his voice, bellow about the wrongdoing of food-flinging.
Naturally, that cracks me up, too. Because Cory-the-perfect-Dad is never genuinely enraged about anything. Except quinoa.