Good Imagination for a Mother

Dinner at our house can be a little trying.  That is, if you’d like to eat without acquiring indigestion, without running to the kitchen after two bites to refill the glasses of milk the wee ones finished in 2.5 seconds, leaving no room in their tender bellies for the food they wouldn’t eat anyway because it has green stuff on it – but I digress.  (See Dinner with Kids for further clarification)

In an attempt to keep them at the table for longer than the 0.5 seconds they usually last after finishing their milk, I bought packs of cocktail napkins (at the discount store) with conversation starters on them.  We started with the jokes and riddles.  Even funnier than the corny jokes was my middle daughter’s uncanny knack at figuring out the punch lines.  Hmmm . . . perhaps that’s why she wanted to pass out the napkins.  After a few nights of that, we graduated to life’s important questions.  If you could invite any one – living or dead – to dinner, who would it be?  Again, the middle stole the show – and my heart – when she replied, without missing a beat, Grandma Julie, my beloved grandmother and her namesake whom she never met.

from seasonedkitchen.com

from seasonedkitchen.com

Another night, we had to reveal which superpower we would want as a superhero.  I piped up with my response first.  “That’s easy, definitely flying.”  Like with a cape?  Flapping your wings like a bird?  “No, just with my arms out as I floated above the trees.”  My answer came easily because I automatically remembered my most favorite dreams – those where I soar above the tops of the trees and roofs of neighbor’s houses behind my childhood home.  The psychological conclusions one can glean from this dream are fodder for perhaps a whole series of posts, but the upshot today is what my oldest daughter said with a look of impressed surprise on her face.

“You have a good imagination for a mother.”

I think that says perhaps more about my existence right now than my thwarted desires of dreams.  All sorts of high-falutin’, politically feminist, empowering responses came to mind, but I simply said thank you and took it as the compliment I’m sure she meant it as.

What a strange psychological experiment parenting is – for all parties involved.  I suppose mind-expanding conversation – even if they need be started with paper squares we smear across our faces – is one way to navigate the maze and see the different paths available.  If not, there are always our dreams and unbridled imagination – even for moms.

Dinner with Kids: A Play Written in One Act

Setting: dining table; random art projects, crumpled mail, and broken toys strewn about the periphery                        

Time: Witching hour

 

Mom: Time to eat!

Children [from other room in front of TV]:

Dad: Let’s go. Shut that off.

Children [from other room in front of TV]:

Dad: NOW

Oldest child: Okay

Five minutes later

Mom: If you want to eat, get in here now.

Children enter stage right

Dad: So what did you do today?

Mom: Well, I eoifagnioen foin

[Mom’s last words garbled by sounds of the youngest singing ‘Skinnamarinky-dink’]

Dad: I’m sorry, what?

Oldest [in an English accent]: Hello, Governor. How are you today?

Middle Child: erupts in infectious roll of giggles

Dad: Girls, would you –

Youngest Child: AAAAAAAHHHHHH!

Mom: What the hell was that for?

Youngest Child: I got milk on my princess dress.

Dad jumps up to get paper towel as he and mother just noticed milk cascading through crack in table onto floor

Middle: Mom, she’s looking at me.

Youngest: sticks tongue out at both sisters.

Oldest [in English accent]: Would you cut it out, Governor?

Dad: returning from kitchen with wad of paper towels. If you girls aren’t going to eat, leave the table and let your mother and me eat in peace.

All three children: Okay!

Middle: Can we watch TV?

Mom: Fine, go.

All three children tear from the room. Sound of laugh-track mindless teen sitcom comes from off-stage.

Dad: So how was your day?

Oldest [from other room]: Mom, she won’t shove over.

Middle: She keeps kicking me.

Youngest: AAAAAAAHHHH!

Mom: I’ll tell you tomorrow.

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