We Have No Kitchen Synch

Sometimes, I think about the irony of my daughter being involved in Synchronized Swimming.  Because, really, there is very little about her that is in synch with anyone else.

If there was any other part of her life that I could get Dimples to apply her synchronized swimming skills to, it would be to her meal-eating.  In fact, our whole family could probably use a coach on this.

Impressive. But, can you eat Hamburger Helper at the same time? (courtesy of proacguy1 on Flickr)

Being a teacher, I have developed the habit of eating quickly.  Elementary school teachers have, on average, 4 minutes to scarf a lunch.  Officially, we are allotted 30.  But, once you get all of your students through the line that was already backed up because the school kitchen ran out of its nutritious pizza rolls two classes before you, and you use your one chance to pee and make any phone calls you need to make, and try to cook the frozen dinner you brought in the one microwave available for 100 teachers in the Teacher’s Lounge, that 30 minutes is pretty much gone.

When I met the Cap’n, I tried to slow myself down a little.  The Cap’n savors his food, and does not rush.  The Cap’n gets an hour and a half for his lunches.  He can go to restaurants, even.  So, he does not really understand the concept of “inhale it or lose it.”

Then I met the Family Firepants (my future in-laws), and knew I was really going to need to change my habits.  They come from the era where your entire day is about the meals – the preparation, cooking, eating, and cleaning up and starting all over again.  And there was no rushing through any of these phases.

And then I gave birth to Dimples – the Slowest Eater of All Mankind.

Here is a typical Family Dinner during the week:

Dimples and I arrive home around 5.  I have not eaten since 11 because that is the ungodly time my lunch is scheduled at school.  I am starving.  But I don’t want to snack because it is close to dinner time.

I call the Cap’n to find out if he will be working late or coming home for dinner.  If he is working late, I fix a no-fuss dinner right then and there for Dimples and me.  If he says he will be home for dinner, I wait until about 5:30, and begin the dinner preparation process – which begins with the Feeding of the Dogs.

Wonderbutt and Mrs. P.I.B. are as unsynchronized as the rest of the family – with Wonderbutt finishing approximately 5 seconds after the food hits the bottom of his bowl, and Mrs. P.I.B. waiting until every part of the environment meets her satisfaction (pantry door closed, at least one human family member within her vicinity, but no living creature within a 3 foot radius of her bowl).  Once Wonderbutt is finished, he hovers, hoping to get any tidbits Mrs. P.I.B. might leave behind – or to brazenly push his way to her bowl when she leaves her head lifted for too long.

Once I am done refereeing the dog meal, I begin to prepare dinner.

At 6:30, I serve whatever I haven’t eaten as I was pulling out of the oven because I am so ravenous.  The Cap’n is usually not home by this point.  He has no Dorfenbergerthalamus, if you recall, so he has probably gotten completely wrapped up in his work, and has no idea that it is even near dinner time.

At 6:45, I am finished with all three courses of my dinner.  Dimples has taken one bite out of a roll, and put some butter on her peas.

At 6:50, the Cap’n calls and says he is now leaving work.

I start doing dishes.

At 7:10, the Cap’n arrives.  Dimples has finished 1/8 of her meal.  The Cap’n serves himself up a plate of cold food, and sits down to eat with her.

At 7:35, the Cap’n is finished.  Dimples is about halfway done, and begs him to stay at the table with her while she eats.  Because he is a pushover where Dimples is concerned, he usually does.

At about 7:55, Dimples finishes, then gets upset because she has only 5 minutes before she needs to get ready for bed.

As I ponder the possible reasons for our unbelievably unsynchronized meals, I think I have come up with the answer.

We need to orchestrate the meals with music.

And possibly wear our bathing suits.

If you have any suggestions for appropriate music (preferably NOT from the score for The Sound of Music), feel free to give your recommendations.  If I put a little more effort and artistry into this, it could become the next Olympic sport.

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Posted on January 8, 2012, in Cap'n Firepants, Children, Dimples, Dogs, Family, Humor, Mrs. P.I.B., Parenting, Uncategorized, Wonderbutt and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 38 Comments.

  1. How about “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast? Or maybe that “Bella Note” or whatever from Lady and the Tramp. I don’t know why, but I’m just thinking Disney movies on this one. You know…Disney might be interested in your story… Wonderbutt would be a great cartoon dog. Just thinking out loud here. 😉

  2. I sympathize with Dimples…I am the world’s 2nd slowest eater and I am tied with my dog. Dante and I are in sync when it comes to eating slowly. Dimples: I feel your pain as the world passes you by as you savor each and every bite of food.

  3. Hi! Wow! We have the same thing here…. collies, cats, birds and us.. disorganized with some digging in and others turning their noses up at the food! LOL I am thinking Savoy Shuffle by the Beatles here… 🙂

    God Bless You!

    The Collies and Chuck 🙂

  4. I came from a large (and very poor but hungry) family. We inhaled our food and hunched over our plates to protect what was ours…I still tend to inhale my food even if I have all day to eat.

    My youngest granddaughter is a very slow eater. She is often finishing up as I am finishing up cleaning the kitchen. She relishes her food, but mostly mealtime is a social event for her.

    • I have heard of this phenomena from several friends who come from large families. I wish I could use that as an excuse for my hasty meals.

      I think that you hit the nail on the head when you described your granddaughter. Dimples apparently thinks dinner is a time to socialize, as well.

  5. I eat fast, but I am the world’s pickiest eater. I won’t eat something if the name of the food sounds weird.

  6. How about “Alice’s Restaurant”? Hmmmm, perhaps a 17 minute song won’t help speed things up.

    Okay, try James Brown’s “Mashed Potato, USA”! No one can do anything slow when JB is singing.

    Failing that there’s always “Eat Your Food Before I Sell Your Toys to the Brat Across the Street”. That’s a surefire winner.

  7. I’m just trying to picture synchronized eating.

  8. Does synchronized eating require the same frightening grin as synchronized swimming?

    I feel your pain on the four minute lunch. There are days I don’t get any. Don’t worry, though, because we get summers off, right? (note heavy sarcasm)

  9. For anything that needs to be sped up with music, I always recommend the Saber Dance. Anything that inspires spinning plates is synchronous and fast.

    Wish I could have found a link with both plate spinning and the music.

  10. LOL – it took me a minute to figure out what the photo was – great post.

  11. That sounds like my daughter. We can all start at different times (but I start her first) and she is always last. Then she complains because no one is sitting with her. I don’t know how she survives the super quick lunches at elementary school, but she comes home with an empty lunch box every day.

    • I wonder the same thing about Dimples at lunch! I’ve asked her about it, and she gives me very vague responses. It’s quite possible she survives on air during the day, I think.

  12. Anything by the Ramones, with a prize if she finishes before the last chord fades…

  13. oh my god this post is funny. btw – synchronized eating DESERVES a freakin’ gold medal when six people have to do it – four of them 10 and under. you are not alone. fight the good fight.

    • Actually, I would go above and beyond a gold medal for you. You probably deserve a Purple Heart and to be knighted by the Queen of England. I honestly don’t know how you do it.

  14. Who could eat slowly listening to Flight of the Bumblebee?

  15. Chancy, Mumsy and Crew

    This was a great post and humorously written. I enjoyed reading it. I have no answer for you though, sorry I can’t help. I must tell you in my book teachers do not get the respect, recognition and pay they deserve. Bless you and all teachers. Sorry your lunch time is so short…not fair! Hugs

  16. I could do that synchronized eating thing with Wonderbutt.

  17. Another hilarious post 🙂 Love the video!!!

  18. What does poor Dimples do at school!?!? She must not get much in her before her 30 minutes are up.

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