sent from my iPhone
It happens at every meal we eat out. We enter. All is calm. Approach the table with a small, preliminary flurry of activity. There is, perhaps, a little jockeying for position and then:
“Can I sit by you?”
If nothing else, this post should convince you that no child in his or her right mind should WANT to sit by me. Because I don’t even take the request well any more. I used to just agree, but then they began asking sooner and sooner, or doing crazed things–running around tables, knocking things over– to leap into the seat closest to the one I’ve chosen. I tried to be fair: well, you sat by me last time… But who can remember all that?
Why do they care?
I am around all the time. I eat nearly every meal with them. I sit next to Rory at every meal at home. But she’s the biggest offender on this one. Tonight, when Lily and I walked up to the booth at Boloco, I pulled up a chair and Lily went to slide in–and Rory leapt up, so that Lily would be on the inside and she would be on the outside, next to me. Which should, I suppose, be endearing, but it’s not. It’s the source of endless strife. Because now Lily wants to sit by me! And then Wyatt realizes that he is not sitting next to me! And Sam–he rarely enters into this, but he has said, when getting bumped for the up tenth time from his chair so that some form of peace can be achieved, that he would like to sit next to me once in a while.
I don’t know what to DO.
The last few times, I’ve just refused to sit with them at all. Thus the view from above, pictured above, tonight. I just stood behind the booth. But that’s not a practical solution. I need something long term. I need a plan, and not one that involves a rotating system.
How ridiculous, how petty, does this sound? I care, if I’m honest, for two reasons. I care because it often causes meltdowns before meals (not everyone can sit by me). And I care because it’s ANNOYING. Because it reminds me of my grandmother, who used to consistently
order the exact same thing I did in restaurants every time, to flatter me, and praised everything I did no matter how unworthy of praise. I have not earned this adulation. I don’t want this adulation. I just want us to be able to eat a meal out in peace. I want this not to be something we have to work out every single time. And I, too, want to sit next to Sam once in a while. I don’t want to always be between two of the three younger children. When we eat with others, it means I’m invariably left out of adult conversation. It means I cut all the food and wipe all the spills, too. It blows.
I think maybe I’ll make a new rule. Anyone who asks to sit by me can’t.
Which sounds like it solves the problem. But there are variations. Lily declares that she wants to sit with Rory, and Wyatt objects–I want to sit between Lily and Rory! its astonishing how MANY variations on this we can come up with. I’d say that from now on, we leave whenever it comes up, but then Sam (the most likely to be hungry) will be the most likely to suffer. Maybe we do that anyway, and he’s the only one I feed.
Seriously, this is the dumbest problem I’ve ever had.