Yes, Reading at the Table!!

We all know reading at the table is the height of rudeness, yes.  Unless it is the mother-sanctioned “Read At The Table Dinner” which I spontaneously invented this evening.  In the interest of full disclosure, this brainstorm was 30% me doing anything to promote reading, and 70% me having a long day and not feeling like talking to anyone by the time we got home from ballet class and sat down to dinner at 7:45 at night.  Genius, yes.  But truly reading and eating is surpassed only by reading in bed, which is surpassed by reading and eating in bed, which is only surpassed by…um…well anyway, dinner tonight was just pierogies and green beans, making it an official “Eat With Your Fingers Dinner” which the kids always love.  [Editor’s Note – Eating with your fingers in bed is pretty unsurpassable.]

Hey, look to Panda’s right, see the New Yorker?  Lately she’s been taking old issues, cutting out the cartoons she likes and pasting them into a notebook.  I get such a kick out of that.  [Editor’s Note – The New Yorker in bed is pretty f–….oh all RIGHT!!!  Leaving now.  Sheesh.]

And looky my plate:  that’s the first salad harvest of the season.  Lettuce, spinach, beet tops, arugula, radishes and chive flowers.  It feels so good to eat green again, I didn’t even mind flicking the little slugs off the leaves.

Anyway, the kids have five days left of the 30 Days With No Screens Challenge.  Have I mentioned this?  It happened innocently enough at the dinner table when Jeeps asked Panda and Red how long they thought they could go without screens.  “A week?” he mused.  AJ snorted.  “That’s easy, I could go…I could go like twenty days, Dad.”  Panda’s eyebrows flew off her forehead but JP put his chin in his hand and pressed.  “What about a month?  You two go a month without screens, I’ll give you a hundred dollars.”

Cha-ching.  And like that the agreement was drawn up – electronic stimuli forsaken, hands were shaken, blood oaths taken.  No screens for a month:  no TV, no computer, no iPad, no iTouch, no Wii.  We brainstormed alternative ideas for entertainment and the kids taped up signs reading “NO!!” on all the temptations.  All went well for the first five days, then Redman started to break down and jones badly for his Metro North clips on Youtube.  He’s definitely found it hard.  Panda has had surprisingly little complaints, although once I walked through the living room and saw her quickly jettison something aside on the couch that looked suspiciously like the iPad.  She beat a hasty retreat out the back door with her Barbies and I let it go.  Also, during a recent shopping trip, I was trying on shoes and Panda was wilting.  I sat her down in an aisle of Payless and gave Special Dispensation to use my phone.

All in all it’s been eye-opening to watch them get back into toys and other diversions.  I only wish the weather were nicer lately because they will happily spend hours outside.  Thank God today it started to clear up and the temperature reached 80.  We had a couple hours to play and putter around before dance class.  Redman covered the driveway with chalk drawings, and we girls picked bouquets:

Columbine, centaurea, pink geranium and lady’s mantle by Panda.

Columbine and bluebells by yours truly.

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