A Note to My Daughter’s Future Therapist: Good Luck with That

One of the many attributes that my daughter inherited from me was a love of reading.  This can be good, but also has a bad side.  We get addicted to books.  We wallow in them.  As a result, we both have the horrible habit of reading during meals.  Since my husband is not a big reader, and it seems a bit rude to completely ignore him the few times a week he is able to join us for a meal, I established the “3-Person Rule.”  When there are 3 or more people at the table, no one can be reading.

According to my daughter, this is the equivalent of being banished to Guantanomo.  At least 3 times a week, it’s only the two of us at the table because I have to feed her before one of her extra-curricular events and my husband is not home, yet.  So, she is happy.  And I am happy.  Because the book takes her mind off my bad cooking.  And I get to read, too.

But when we have “family dinners”, she reads until I, the last one, finally sit down at the table, then glares at me, sighs dramatically, and pushes the book to the side.

That’s when it gets fun.

One of the many attributes that my daughter inherited from my husband was an aversion to small talk.

So, we sit in silence, the three of us, until my daughter says to me, “Don’t you have any stories to tell?”  Not because she wants to hear them, but because she is bored.  And she refuses to reveal anything about her personal life.  And my husband just doesn’t really want to talk.  So, it’s all on me – the woman forcing my family to socialize with each other.

And then I rack my brain for a story that I haven’t told a million times that’s appropriate to talk about at the dinner table.

My supply is being quickly depleted.

Today, I couldn’t think of anything.  But, right when I ate my last bite (being a teacher who usually has 20 min. to eat, I’m always the first to finish), I remembered something.  I regaled them with a true story from a book that I was reading. It involved someone who had been treated terribly as a child by his parents.  Not exactly great table talk.  But it was all I had.

“So, you see?  You are so fortunate to have great parents like us!” I observed.

Without missing a beat, Dimples looked pointedly at my empty plate and said, in her best exasperated tone, “Who won’t leave the table even though they are done eating!”

Ah, the mistreatment that poor child has to endure.

Twenty years from now, she will show up for an appointment with some unsuspecting therapist who will be subjected to an hour of unrelenting anguished tales about the parents who abused her by forcing her to put down her book at the dinner table.

Oh, wait a second.  No he won’t.

Because she’ll be too busy reading a book.

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Posted on January 12, 2014, in Dimples, Family, Humor and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 41 Comments.

  1. I think it should be okay to read at breakfast, when my husband is grumpy anyone. This seems to make him grumpy.

    • We usually eat separate breakfasts, so that works out in Dimples’ favor. She gets up later than I do during the week. Plus NO ONE expects me to talk during breakfast. That’s just a given…

  2. Things to consider (off the top of my head):
    1) Talking books at the dinner table (killing the book thing AND the talking thing at the same time)
    2) A comic book for the Captain – given his dislike of reading, he could look at the pictures, it would remove the pressure off you and Dimples would be happy

  3. I love reading waaaaaaaaay to much as well but my parents won’t let me read at the table either so I eat as fast as I can to get back to my book ^_^

    Luckily, with a large family, someone always has something to say so usually the conversation happens without my input! If in doubt, discuss the weather, or news stories!!!

    ~ Amy

  4. Reblogged this on D.E. Cantor and commented:
    We have all seen blogs/columns whatever with titles like, “To the Woman Who Will Marry My Son” or “To the Man Who Will Ask My Daughter to Marry Him,” written by parents with children too young to know what their sexuality is. It is, therefore, with great pleasure, I bring you this blog written to “My Daughter’s Future Therapist.”
    And, those of us who think that most of the people we ever talk to do not compare to sitting somewhere by ourselves reading a good book can identify with the daughter rebelling against her mother’s rule to put down her book in favor of dinner conversation, while those with children they hope will grow up to have decent social skills will empathize with the plight of the mother.

  5. We rarely sit at the table at the same time..I wouldn’t mind if there was a book involved.

  6. You have inspired me to write a blog entitled, “To My Daughter’s Future Parole Officer.”

  7. There are five of us, and dinnertime conversation still sometimes (often) lags. Perhaps adding charades to the docket would break the monotony? Or Trivial Pursuit cards like they have in trendy coffee shops?

  8. You should get a copy of The Kids’ Book of Questions. Do a question or two a night, and have a rule (rules – isn’t that how this all got started?) that everybody has to answer. That’ll REALLY make Dimples hate talking nights….

  9. twice a week I get to eat lunch alone and I always read the paper or my book during my lunch. I relish it. but, my dinner table is never silent. we often have to tell girl 1 to put her book away at dinner and she usually looks like she wants to stab us. hubby just thinks it rude to read at the table when it’s all of us. but it is so chaotic and loud at our table. sometimes when hubby and I are out alone eating lunch or dinner we eat in complete silence and it is a pleasure.

    • I swear to God I saw an entire family (5 or 6 people) eating in complete silence a couple of months ago at Pei Wei. Every single one of them was reading a book. I thought maybe it was some kind of weird version of a flash mob.

  10. Your Dimples is adorable!

  11. You should have Dimples start to make up her own stories at the table. Challenge her to make something even more exciting than the book she’s reading. And be thankful your problem is that it’s hard to get her to put a book down. She sounds like she’s headed in the right direction.

  12. Enjoyed this very much; although we rarely ate together as a family, and we when did it was in a restaurant, we are all voracious readers. I always made sure to read whatever my girls were reading (and watch whatever they were watching) so we could discuss the content when necessary. I predict that when she has kids of her own, Dimples will in fact impose the same rule on her children, looking back on her memories of such dinner hours with fond appreciation. :>

  13. I was going to say the same thing as a previous commenter. Maybe you should use like question stems. Although Dimples will probably thing that is corny! ;)

  14. That made me choke on my coffee – hee hee she is brilliant!

  15. Yes, Dimples is headed in the right direction as far as “all knowledge begins with reading” – something I remember from one of my grammar school teachers. As far as socialization, nada. The younger generation is quickly losing the art of conversation and communication unless they have their phone or tablet in their hands and eyes glued to that.

  16. We never had sit down family dinners in my family so we’d always just eat and read. Probably wasn’t a good idea considering my dad now lives in Texas and my brother comes home from school and just sits in his room and never talks to my poor mom…

  17. If Dimples were smart, she’d bring up some topics that would force you to put that book back in her hand. ;)

  18. An after thought…

    We did have a rule about the answer to “how was your day?” or “how was school today?” They were NOT allowed to just say “okay” and be done with it. They were REQUIRED to tell at least one story of their choice about their day — of course, that story led to questions which led to more stories which led to a conversation… like magic! :>

  19. Dimples sounds like she’s starting the joys of being a teenager early.
    Fun times ahead!

  20. Poor Dimples – such a hard life. Seriously! I can relate to this. My mom had to create similar rules to get me to put down books. But if you’re going to have an addiction there are far worse things, right?!

  21. Ha! Very funny. Reminds me of this:

  22. Leann – I LOVE THAT VIDEO! Thanks :)

    It was my dad who always read at the dinner table! But mom and us girls never had a problem talking nonsense so it was okay. We all read the paper in the mornings :)

  23. I grew up in a big family and I can’t imagine being allowed to read at the dinner table.:)

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