Shhhh. Don't let them know we see them.
Children's dinner parties are much more fun if they think they're alone. The secret to good behavior? Treat them as honored guests and they will usually rise to the occasion.
This past Saturday night, the stage was set for their arrival. Golden light and flowers were corralled into action.
It was a six o'clock seating. There was a spirited exchange about who got to sit on the horseshoe bench, but it was soon settled with diplomatic aplomb.
The decision about background music was unanimous.
A few photos were snapped for posterity and then The First Evening Assembly of Eating and Drinking for Mostly Nine Year-Olds and One Twelve Year-Old was officially underway. Due to diverse food preferences and the fact that the adult seating was at seven, a meal of unparalleled simplicity had been decided on.
As for the adults? Oh, we were squeezed into the kitchen, seven of us sitting cheek to jowl around a small table of appetizers.
We had just congratulated ourselves on how wonderful it is that our children are at an age where we can actually relax when a face appeared at the door. It was my son.
Him: We're done.
Me: You're done already?
(It's my fault. I had stupidly forgotten my own cardinal rule for kids food at dinner parties: Serve food that takes a long time to eat. Spaghetti can be slurp-inhaled in no time. Plus, there really should have been a vegetable.)
I told them to sit down and talk to each other. This proved to be of limited value. A couple of minutes were occupied in a technical discussion about Lego minifigures and then curiosity over what was for dessert led to more faces at the door.
Fortunately, a wise and beautiful girl gave us a ten minute continuance by giving the boys a detailed analysis of exactly how much homework they could expect in sixth grade.
Reaction to her news was varied.
The solution to no more interruptions? A change of scenery. A tablecloth, hastily thrown upon the cowhide in the living room, was announced as the exciting new venue for an imminent brownies and peppermint ice cream picnic. Cross-legged on the floor, knees and elbows touching, heads huddled together, they chattered away.
And as we settled in around the dining table, so did we.
Happy post-Thanksgiving everyone. The season is upon us.