This is what you might observe if you joined us at table:
- Three saying 'bustle spout' over and over again, being corrected each time by five other people. Occasionally there would be a chorus of 'brrrrrussel sprrrrout'. One got sent to the stairs for being rather too emphatic in his correction, and I piped in with the helpful query, "Aren't they are called brussels sprouts?" at which the chef (being Mama Nut) got up to check the package and we all learned that we were indeed eating brussels sprouts. Who knew there was so much entertainment value in that tiny, humble cabbage? (No comments from the peanut gallery, please!)
- In demonstration of the oddness of these children I live with, there was general excitement around the table that those tiny cabbages were included in the meal, and lamentation that there were not more of them. Three even said, "Poor me - I don't have any more bustle spouts!" These same children picked rather halfheartedly at our last birthday cake, so that most of it now sits in pieces in the freezer. Not good for those of us in the house who are fond of all things chocolate, but who are also attempting to maintain our Lenten fast!
- During the brussels sprout exchange, Two began having a conversation with himself, sotto voce, gesturing with a fork adorned by roasted vegetables.
- Four laying across his chair, legs and feet dangling over one side, head and shoulders over the other.
- Five, reclining back sideways against the parent beside him, pushing his plate as far away as he could reach when he'd had a bite, then squawking when ready for more. Usually accompanied by a whack or two on the arm to get the attention of that fortunate parent. The reward for enduring such treatment, however, is to see him wiggle his little body in his booster seat with absolute delight at getting what he wanted.
- The sounds of that same delightful child, Five, erupting in toots which ricochet and echo around inside his booster seat. His response? "Oops!"
- At any time during the meal, you will hear repeated multiple times: use your napkin, not your clothes; stop talking; sit on your bum (to the child perched on his feet like Cato about to pounce); keep your chair on the floor (to the child who tends to end up on the floor saying, "Oh! How did that happen I wonder?"), stop talking; sing in your head; don't eat my asparagus ("your pasaragus?"); stop talking; can I have more (sometimes asked before everyone has even picked up their fork); get your feet off the table (don't worry, that's to the two year-old); stop talking!
- Just your typical meal time, really. Doesn't this sound like supper at your house?