Eating used to be so awesome. I mean, it still is, but I prefer to eat without a shot clock which is what my wife and I must do now with Dylan. One of my pet peeves is to be rushed through whatever meal I’m having. Even if you see me powering through some Chipotle, at least I am the decider of my destiny, dammit! So many good things can come from a meal – stimulating conversation, laughs, new ideas. To me, being rushed through a meal is like reading the cliffs notes – no, the Wikipedia article of a great novel.
Nowadays mealtime has the conversational atmosphere of prison, hastily shoveling food into mouths, watching the clock and your child. At least with a shot clock you know how much time you have. Your child is like a shot clock with no clock – It will just go off whenever it damn well feels like it.
Now that Dylan can eat table food, we can have some semblance of a family dinner at the table, but he still rules our mealtimes. I’ve lost count of the times I have come back to my cold plate of food an hour after leaving it because his dinnertime begat his bathtime which begat his story time which begat his sleep time.
However, a new thing has happened (mostly out of necessity to find a silver lining in the fact that I will not have a peaceful meal at home for the next 10-15 years). I’m starting to enjoy mealtimes through my son. Watching him eating pancakes for the first time or seeing him get excited at the sight of goldfish crackers helps fill that void that was otherwise filled with my own enjoyment of food.
Think back to a time where you dragged your friend to some restaurant you swore had the best pizza/ramen/hamburgers/tacos/burritos ever. Remember the look on their face when they experienced that same joy you experienced when you ate that pizza/ramen/hamburger/taco/burrito for the first time? That’s what it’s like to watch babies eat new foods – except instead of seeing it once in a while, you’re seeing it on a weekly basis. No matter how messy they get, watching your kids experience the world through food is one of the most rewarding things as a parent.