Monday, 9 March 2009


Has anyone ever tried giving their children rice for tea? We had it tonight. It's not the first time we've had it, we probably have it once a week. I may as well just drop it all over the floor and kick it around rather than serve it up on the plates. I don't know about anyone else's floor after having rice for tea, but our floor gets submerged in it. I'm not actually sure if they even eat it.

I try to give my boys a balanced diet, and they do eat really well. We always sit down and eat together as a family. I think it's a really important time to chat through the day and answer any questions they might have about the day's events.

But tonight we had rice. Jonah smiles at us with his most winning grin and then picks up his bowl and lobs it across the room. Max decides to eat 'indian style' with his fingers, except that he hasn't quite got the hang of flicking the rice into his mouth and it ends up decorating his school uniform (yes, I know I should make them get changed but I can't face the battle). Toby doesn't do too badly with the rice, but uses his white school shirt, clean on that day, to wipe his tomatoey sauce covered face and hands.

At the end of the meal I look around and see work. Work, work, work. We don't know where to start with the clean up operation. If we let them get down from the table, they will tread rice all over the rest of the house. If they stay there, they will not only make more mess but the noise levels will reach dangerous levels.

So, we plod through. Toby clears the table, as is his job for the day. Max brushes all the rice from his uniform onto the floor and then sweeps it up with a dustpan and brush (only to drop it all out of the pan again on the way to the bin, creating more work, but at least he tried). Jonah shouts alot, makes red indian noises which he saw his brothers doing earlier, bangs his spoon and pours his drink all over the table. Eventually we clear up.

Tea time is such a peaceful time of day in our house, can you tell? It is important to all be together though, and however tempted I am (which is most days at that particular time) to eat seperately when they have all gone to bed, I know that we are instilling into them important values and teaching them the art of conversation. Even if that conversation has to be shouted over the top of red indian noises and songs about wee and boobies.

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