Extreme Slow Food

We had to call an emergency family meeting tonight. It was about this whole slow food “issue.” I’m not talking about this:

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I’m in to all that. I’m talking about Piper and Sissy’s propensity for taking so long to finish a meal that breakfast runs in to lunch and lunch runs into dinner. We call it brealunner for short. There’s nothing short about it, though. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy a leisurely pace. I like that we talk so much at meal time. I like that Piper cracks us up. Sissy tells us about her day. Important questions are asked and answered. Meal time is awesome for the first hour. You heard me right. It’s just that we can’t seem to do anything else in our house but make meals, eat meals, and clean up after meals. At this point we’re going to have to start bringing our pillows to the table.

So, we brainstormed (post rant, of course). Sissy suggested a new seating arrangement for less distraction. Done. Piper suggested we all stand up while we eat and stop using utensils and napkins. Vetoed. I suggested a timer simply to make us aware of a reasonable passage of time. Motion carried. Dad suggested we cut down on snacks between meals. Split vote. It was a productive conversation. We began eating.

At the end of our meeting and our successful thirty minute meal, I asked if there were any other issues to discuss. Piper had one.

“You guys are kind of bossy. You’re always telling us what to do. I think you both should work on that. Your bossiness, that is.”

Duly noted.

Maybe I should have sent her to bed without her dinner, but A. she’d already eaten it and B. I was laughing too hard.

All You Need is Love

I thought Sissy was the slowest eater on the history of the planet until I had Piper. Breakfast can be a two hour ordeal.  They linger. They chat. They solve the world’s problems. As long as we never have any other plans in our life beyond two hour meals, the long eat isn’t a huge a problem.  It’s annoying, for sure. They aren’t unhappy at meal time. They love meal time. But, alas, the school day beckons.  Work won’t wait. There are things beyond our breakfast table.

Over the years I’ve tried a variety of strategies to hurry the process.  Charts. Stickers. Mean looks. Threats. A timer. My remedies shorten the meal length to a reasonable amount…for awhile…but then the minutes start creeping up again.  We joke that one day their breakfast will run into their lunch which will run into their dinner.  The girls think this is hilarious.  It doesn’t dissuade them at all.

You can imagine that after the first hour my patience can run thin.  Like it did tonight.  I pulled out my least effective parenting trick: the bribe.

“I’m setting the timer for five minutes. When it goes off, your plates will be inspected. If you’re not done, there’s no dessert.”

I’d made blondies last night, so they knew what was on the line.

Sissy watched the timer and threw down her salad. At ten seconds she triumphantly stood, cleared her plate, and loaded it into the dishwasher.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

Piper glanced up at the clock, picked up another red pepper, and said,

“I don’t care about dessert anyway. I only care about love. Love doesn’t have a timer.”