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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • Life lessons learned

  • This past week I was musing over surviving without the kids for a second week in a row.
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  • This past week I was musing over surviving without the kids for a second week in a row.
    It really is remarkable how easily Hubby and I fall back into our "no children at home" routine.
    Since the kids left on Aug. 18, we have yet to eat a meal at the kitchen table. At commercial break of one of our favorite television programs we rush to the kitchen to load our plates and get back to our respective chairs before programming begins again.
    When the kids were here they heard the mantra, "There will be no eating any where but in the kitchen!" so many times I heard Maddie repeating it in her sleep one night.
    After our meal in the living room we sit like a pair of slugs in our respective 'pappa bear' and 'mama bear' recliners watching television until one of us mentions between yawns that its late and we should get to bed.
    This occurs usually anywhere between 8:30 and 10 p.m.
    In our defense, for a better part of the summer, we ate every meal at the kitchen table with the kids. And with each meal came a lesson.
    In the beginning of the summer we practiced "how children are supposed to act in public at a restaurant." 
    The lesson was more-so for Maddie who has been known to eat food that she's dropped, off the restaurant floor, ask complete strangers for assistance in wiping ketchup off her clothing (and other inappropriate gestures) and spill her drink all over the table the minute the food arrived.
    "We don't get out much," Mason offered, after our first restaurant outing where Maddie did everything aforementioned above–plus more.
    The second month the kids were here for the summer, we worked on appropriate things to say at the supper table. There were certain hotwords that became forbidden at the dinner table– including but not limited to–anything that described bodily fluids, projectile vomiting, Mason's video games and tattling, just to name a few.
    We dubbed those types of conversations "potty talk" and they knew by the end of the month "potty talk" was not tolerated or appropriate while eating anywhere at any time.
    By the third and final month of the kids stay at our house for the summer, we had them trained exactly how we wanted them shortly before they left to acclimate back into the northwoods culture.
    The first week they were gone Hubby and I complained about how it didn't seem worth cooking an entire meal for just the two of us. The first couple of times we made a portion that would have fed an army, forgetting that we were no longer feeding two growing children.
    Page 2 of 2 - I find it ironic that before they came we made a meal together every night and never once thought of it as a burden for "just the two of us." Furthermore, we used to eat at the table more nights than not when it was just the two of us. Now we dash to the living room with our plates of food.
    I guess it feels defiant to break our own rule.
    I think quite possibly the children taught us as many lessons about life as we tried to instill in them.

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