Sunday, December 8, 2013

Family Dinner with a Millennial

You've probably heard it a few times: eat dinner as a family. 

They tell you it's important not just 'cuz you'll actually spend time talking to your kid, but even for big things like preventing drug and alcohol abuse. OK, done. Got it.

In a family of two, it could be easy to slap a plate of food in front of the kid as she watches her fifth episode of some Disney show, just to get the chance to kick back and sip wine uninterrupted. Even easier to make sure that food is a pizza or nuggets that require very little cleanup. But i don't. Grace me with the mom of the year award please, for actually steaming fresh vegetables and using recipes that include real ingredients. Yep, the kick-assery around here is palpable. 

Pizza, sometimes.
We eat those meals together and indeed, we do get to talking about a lot of stuff that probably wouldn't get brought up otherwise. But in this millennial-edition of the family dinner, there are other considerations. Like whether Netflix will continue to blast. Where her iPod and my iPhone will be stashed during said meal. Whether there will be dessert. Who will rinse the dishes and slide them into the dishwasher. Whether the little mutt we just adopted should be taught to beg at the table, like our other big mutt does.

In a post-analog world, family dinners go something like this:

Mother: OK, dinner's ready! Time to turn off that TV. (two minutes later, dinner is on the table)

Mother: I mean now! Come ON!

Child: Uuuuuuhhhh! Can't I just finish this episode?

Mother: No, and you're not turning it on after dinner either.

Child: But it's only 6 o'clock! What am I gonna do for the next two and a half hours? It's so BORING around here! Uuuuuuuhhhhh. (sits at table)

Mother: (knocks back half a glass of wine) You're so abused. Hey! Put that iPod away!

Child: Geez mom when did you get so strict? Stop! I'm just gonna turn on some dinner music.

Mother: (eye roll at the choice of the One Direction Pandora channel) OK, but you can't wear your headphones at dinner. Yes, i will listen to your music. Hey! Turn it down! It doesn't need to be blasting. (puts iPod on the other side of the table, away from child's reach)

Child: Hey! I want it near me! (stands up, starts fiddling with iPod)

Mother: No devices during dinner! If you can't stop fussing with it while we eat i'm gonna take it away.

Child: Uhhhh.

Mother: (receives text) OK, i have to answer this. Yes, i know i'm a hypocrite. 

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