Friday, July 27, 2012

A Cross-Cultural Phenomenon

Four things I must always remember when I invite my favorite boys over for dinner:

1. Prepare to make and serve a LOT of food. Tonight I made twice as much spaghetti as I normally make, to serve five full-grown Streichers and only three of my favorite boys, ages 4, 7 and 10. Yet every last bite of the double batch of spaghetti disappeared, along with a whole loaf of bread and half a watermelon, in record time. They pretty much always eat every single crumb I put before them, yet it never fails to impress me.

2. Expect creative table manners. Now I'm not complaining - these young men are perfectly civilized and respectfully polite to me. But they are still little boys, and that means that they change up the energy level around my table. 

Eating spaghetti as a sandwich? Yes, but his older brother suggested it. Why not?

Standing up while dining? Well, he was seated on a bench, which is kinda tricky. And he was just climbing back into it from a mid-meal bathroom trip. So it's fairly understandable that he needed to stop for a quick bite, before he was fully seated again. 

Spilled juice? Oh, look at that tiny little boy's innocent face. He didn't do it on purpose!

3. Be ready to jump up and down a few thousand times. Between filling everyone's plates, refilling plates with seconds and even thirds, refilling serving dishes, topping off drinks and fetching extra napkins, I got in a solid cardio workout while everyone else was sitting still. As I recall, this is a constant fact of life for a mommie with young children, but I often forget about it between visits from young'uns. Trust me, after tonight, I'll be remembering for a while.

4. Remember that it's always worth the effort. No matter how much work, mess or chaos they create, I always find joy in a meal shared with children. I may sometimes feel like my head is coming unscrewed, but there are always enough smiles, laughs and happy full tummies to make it all worthwhile. Thanks to my favorite boys for a fun night!

P.S. Someday I hope to share a meal with my favorite Malaysia babies. Something tells me that even across our vast cultural divide, we will definitely enjoy each others' company at the dinner table.


  1. As a mother of boys, I can attest that this is spot on. Especially the creative table manners. :)

    1. Thank you for your expert testimony. Now go feed your sons. I'm sure they're hungry.


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