It’s the Intention that Counts, Right? #SundayDinnerChallengeFail
Posted by : Alex Mills /
This post is, well... real. It doesn’t always go as planned and the happy picture in our head doesn’t always match reality.
I’ll speak for our family. We have a little toddler. People joke that our 3.5-year-old is only stops when she’s asleep. I laugh knowingly and then cry on the inside a little bit. Because they’re absolutely right. She’s one of those toddlers.
When she isn’t asleep she is alternately getting into stuff, climbing our bookshelves or otherwise putting herself in danger. We’ve had more near misses with her than we care to recount.
Because of her nature - which we, of course, love and know will serve her very well one day - our meal times have had to, well, adapt. She doesn’t sit still longer than a few minutes unless she is physically contained by straps of some sort or she is watching YouTube kids. We don’t love the way the screen mesmerizes her but sometimes we are forced to use it strategically.
So, most meal times, we have to buckle her into her little toddler dinner chair thing with the click on tray so she can’t physically run around our living room with her food. Because she totally would.
Enter #sundaydinnerchallenge. I had it all planned out in my mind. To accommodate her little toddler dinner chair thing, we sat down at the ottoman in our living room and set it like a little table. We wanted her to feel like we were eating with her and that she was included. I made our dinner in our sous vide set up, pork tenderloin over cauliflower rice with a yummy mustard pan sauce if I remember correctly. We got our phone pouches out - the works.
What could go wrong?
There must be a way to help a toddler sit still long enough to enjoy a meal with her loving parents. Our adoring presence will compel her to sit still? She will bask in our gaze and feel understood and loved. This will set the stage for a well adapted brain, and bondedness to her primary caretakers and all will be well forever.
Instead, she sobbed through the whole stupid thing. Ok, not the whole thing. We got a couple cute pics to start. But it went downhill fast. I think the changeup in routine was so interesting to her that she wanted to explore everything - the food on our plates, our utensils (“what is this knife thing?!”) and she just couldn’t because she was contained in her little chair.
So - she was generally unhappy, we spent the meal feeling a low grade of stress while she fussed and tried to tip her chair over - her little trick when she’s done with meal time and we don’t get her out immediately. Eventually she succeeded and what was left of her dinner fell off the tray and all over the living room rug.
#toddlerlife am I right?
So, that was a great start. I share our #sundaydinnerchallenge fail with you only to encourage you. Life isn’t always pretty, but underneath it all, it’s the trying and intentions behind it that count.
We’ll keep working with our daughter to sit through dinner. Eventually the threenager thing will pass and she will. And we’ll work at building good habits into the future to support our family - including a regular family dinner time.
Until then, it’s OK if it’s not picture perfect - at least that’s what I tell myself.