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How (not) to encourage family meal times

“Sophie, you need to keep your mouth closed when you’re talking whilst you’re eating.”

Pete raises his eyes at me. Sophie gives me a confused look. Oliver squashes one of his grapes which squirts directly onto my clean blouse in the vicinity of my left breast. I realise what I’ve just said.

“I mean… erm… don’t talk with your mouth full!”

By this time she’s now shouting the theme tune to ‘Boj’ on CBeebies, small bits of pasta and bolognese spraying from her mouth all over the table, one piece of which is now firmly attached to the right side of my now not so clean blouse.

I look to my distracted husband for backup who’s scrolling down the screen of his phone on his twitter feed despite the fact that HE’S the one who is always saying we need no TV or phones at the dinner table. “We need to sit down and talk as a family!”

Fat chance of that happening when we’ve a five year old who needs to be tricked into eating by some form of entertainment, a special needs two year old who physically can’t talk, a severely sleep deprived mother who struggles to string a sentence together without yawning and rubbing her eyes and a father who is so addicted to the screen of his phone the local council are actually having to replace the lamp posts on our street because of how often he walks into them whilst on his phone!

So, I do what any ordinary mum would do in this situation… I walk over to the kitchen and open a bottle of wine.


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