Several years ago, on a much needed Christmas Break, my dad pulled out a piece he wrote many years ago. I think it was inspired after he read an article in some homeschool magazine about the picture perfect family having an ordinarily perfect morning. He knew it had to have been staged. Life in the morning of a busy family is always chaotic. The following dialog is especially hilarious if you know my family at all. Try to imagine us almost 20 years younger than we are now.
Dad: "Ow! Somebody left Legos in the chair! Here. Push this stuff back so we'll have some room here. These things are supposed to be..."
Samuel: "Hey! Dad! Watch out! That's an Allosaurus eating the Empire State Building."
Dad: "Oh. Well put it over here - I'll be careful. Here, his toe fell off. You can fix it later. That's the Empire State Building?"
Samuel: "Sure, Dad. He's already eaten most of it. Those are the structural underpinnings. He sucked 'em right out of the bedrock. And here's blood running down the side..."
Katie: "Oh Samuel, you're so gross. Don't talk about blood when we're trying to eat."
Bess: (* superloud) "Mom, the oatmeal's burning!" (smoke detector squeals) "I'll get it!" (runs to wave rag at the hideous, chirping siren)
Mom: "Don't do that first! Turn off the burner, for heavens sake! Oh!!!" (oatmeal, smoking, goes out. Door slams.)
Katie: "Tabbachah won't eat it."
Dad: "Did you put your PMS patch on?"
Bess: "Mom, Daniel's poopy. Daniel, you're so gross! I want the red cup! HEY!"
Dad: "I'll change Daniel. He's not gross. That's just what babies do. Don't play with Legos now. Get 'em back there so we don't spill something on them. Katie, put your book away. We're going to eat."
Samuel: "It's okay, Dad. Last week Daniel spilled orange juice all over them and now they stick together better. I want the red cup!"
Mom: "Are you going to change him or do I have to?"
Bess: "Dad, Katie's still reading. I want the Illuminator Hat box!"
Samuel: "You got it yesterday! Daniel, you stink!"
(3 minutes pass. Daniel is changed. Cereal of four different kinds are poured. Each child slumps behind a box so they won't have to see anyone else. This requires continual maneuvering. Samuel falls off his chair.)
Dad: "Okay, Daniel's clean. Here y'go, eat your cereal. Well, Daniel's still got diarrhea."
Katie: "Oh GROSS Dad! Don't say that while we're eating!"
Bess: "Mom, Samuel's smacking."
Dad: "Chew with your mouth closed. Use your best manners here. Remember the Queen of Manneria. Are you going to eat, Diana?"
Katie: "Oh Dad that's a stupid story. You just made it up."
Mom: "No, thanks." (sits down tired) "I've lost my appetite. Maybe I'll eat later."
Dad: "We need to pray. Did anyone pray yet? The Queen of Manneria was actually quite wise. She made the slobs in her kingdom not eat. They learned quick not to be slobs."
Dad: "Daniel, will you pray? Let's thank Jesus for our food."
Bess: "Samuel's still smacking."
Dad: "Samuel, take small bites. Everybody stop. We're going to pray. Okay Daniel. Pray."
Dad: "Pray Daniel."
Mom: "Daniel, you can pray now."
Katie: "My cereal's getting soggy."
Bess: "Me too."
Samuel: "Me too."
Dad: "Say 'I too.' Pray, Daniel. Do you want Samuel to pray?"
Daniel: "Thank you Jesus fo' my food, an' for my milk, an' my Legos, an' for da clouds, an' for da sky, and twaactors, an' Mama, an' cereal, an' my spoon..."
Dad: "Wait Katie."
Daniel: "... an' for whales, and da twees, an'... Amen!"
Mom: "That was a good prayer, Daniel. Now you may eat."
Dad: "Samuel, if you don't slow down and eat quietly you’ll have to go all week without food.”
Katie: “Really Dad? Samuel, keep smacking!”
Mom: “Greg, that’s unnecessary. Samuel, eat quietly of you’ll have to leave the table.”
Mom: “What Bess?”
Bess: “Do worms have appetites?”
Mom: “I don’t know. Ask your father.”
Dad: “Sure Bess. I guess so. They like leaves and dirt, so they must have appetites. We can look it up.”
Mom: “What Bess?”
Bess: “Daniel’s taking off this clothes and pouring syrup in his diaper.”
Dad: “Don’t tell Mom. I’ll take care of it.”
Mom: “No, I’ll do it. Daniel, what are you doing? What is the syrup doing out anyway?”
Bess: “I was going to put syrup on my oatmeal.”
Dad: “On oatmeal? We don’t put syrup on oatmeal.”
Bess: “I do. It’s really good. You should try it but I think it’s all gone now.”