Table Routines

March 04,2010
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird( )

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

We all have our spots. At our round kitchen table, I will call our spots, 12, 3, 6, and 9, as in their positions as if on a clock. SPH always sits at 12, R at 3, Yours Truly at 6 and G at 9. At least this is our configuration for family dinners. But at breakfast and lunch, G shifts to the 12 position, because SPH is at work and the 12 spot has a better view of our bird (really, squirrel) feeder. No one ever commanded to anyone that this is how we should always sit for dinner vs. breaskfast/lunch, it just sort of happened. First, it happened that I would be at the 6 position, because this is where I have the closest, unobstructed access to the main kitchen area for my “get up and fetch” trips. Next, when G came along, he needed to be in the 9 position, because the high chair fit best there. Now that he sits in his big boy chair with us at the table, his position has remained. And SPH and R just fell into place after that. Once the positions at the dinner table were established however, it did help in getting everything in place more easily when setting the table. I guess I never really realized what a routine our table places had become until the other day when SPH was traveling and we had dinner, just R, G and I. When I set the table for dinner, I set up our places in our “breakfast/lunch” eating configuration, with G in the usual position of SPH. I had no idea how controversial this would be. Me: “Boys, dinner is ready!” (pause, repeat the above a few times, as they almost never come to dinner the first time I call them. ) R and G: “Coming!” (R and G approach the table and stand staring at the table.) R: “Mom, where is G’s plate?” Me (pointing to the 12 position): “Over there!” R and G: “That’s where Daddy sits!” Me: “Daddy isn’t here for dinner tonight, so I thought he could sit there.” (Long pause) G: “I sit here.” (pointing to his usual “9” position for dinner) How quickly we all fall into routine. The whole scenario above actually warmed my heart. It showed they know daddy has an important place in our family, even when he isn’t physically present. It also proved that sometimes, when we least expect it, kids pick up on routines, and thrive with them. SPC