Monday, November 28, 2011

Party, Interrupted

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.

Me: Yes?
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.



Janell @ House of Fifty said...

Beautiful photos! We had a similar party at our house, several families sharing leftovers the day after Thanksgiving, the kids did great at their table! Janell

Sarah Greenman said...

Fantastic! I agree 100% - treat them well and give them space. I'm always surprised at how beautifully they behave. XO

Unknown said...

I had to laugh out loud, since that scene repeats itself regularly at our dinner table. They are done in minutes flat, no matter how elaborate the meal.....and ask to be excused. Slowly we try to teach them that meals are not just for eating alone.
But it takes time!
Talking? We usually get them staying longer by talking about planes and hopes for the near future. It gets everybody staying around the table a little longer!
Love your dinner for the kids!
And the elbow to jowl kitchen scene!

Happy holiday season, Lisa!

Karena said...

Lisa, Bravo on entertaining the children!! When my grandchildren are here they have the same linen napkins and crystal etc as the adults! The want to feel special and a part of the festivities.

Love the horseshoe bench!


Art by Karena

The Buzz Blog @ Diane James Home said...

What warm and welcoming images - I'm sure the party was a huge success! I totally agree that children behave better when we treat them like our peers - our kids are tickled pink to have a glass of watered-down wine at Thanksgiving and feel so grown up. We also love doing Table Topics which helps keep them entertained and gets the converstaion going. XO Cynthia

Kerry Steele- Design du Monde said...

That sounds like a wonderful party.

noreen said...

Hi Lisa,
Beautiful pictures of a lovely dinner. The dessert picnic is my favorite part - and the hand pictures. Children are so creative. Joy to you!

Emily said...

I'm sure these well behaved children could dine with kings and queens!

Scott Waterman said...

What a sweet idea. Reminds me of a tradition in my mother's family. My grandmother always made an adult style dinner party for her children's birthdays as my mother did for me and my siblings.

Michelle said...

Love the way you captured the golden light of the evening ... as if we were an outsider looking in. Reminded me of the very beginning of the movie "howards end" where Mrs. Wilcox on an evening walk is viewing her own home from the outside looking in. There's something romantic about a home aglow with laughter and conversation in the evening. It's as if the home has come alive with it's inhabitants. Looked like a fabulous party.

24 Corners said...

The absolutely enchanting images mingling with reality of childhood truthdom's is priceless...and of course there was wrangling over the horseshoe bench, I would think that's a daily occurance, party or no party!
xo J~

Reyes said...

What a lovely dinner party! and so happily surprised to see you drinking Marques de Riscal! You see, I am originally from Rioja region where that divine wine is produced. Besos XXX

JMW said...

What a wonderful idea for the kids! Love the atmosphere you set for them - I would have loved something like that at their age. And, my husband would love the choice of music. :)

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