While Jonathan has been away, for my own sanity and survival, I have been trying to teach Ferdinand how to listen, and good manners. To learn table manners, I realized the first thing I was going to have to do was get him to the table. He likes to sit in his egg chair and eat in front of the TV, and I can’t argue with him that it’s not really a problem if you’re shoving six pieces of pancake in your mouth at the same time, if the only one looking back at you is Spongebob.
The hardest part is convincing him that it is all going to be worth it. I try to lure him over by changing the decor for dining. I put up his own drawings for ice breakers, pictures of his cousins, and a calendar that we made to mark off the days until Dad comes home. I lit a candle and put some music on. Fire always peaks Ferd’s interest.
He eats whatever I eat, with ketchup, and it’s easier to start with a menu that you know is geared for success. Last night we had tiny organic turkey meatballs, string beans with olive oil and garlic, and mashed potatoes, and then chocolate cupcakes, fresh whipped cream, and colored sprinkles for dessert.
Here is what we had to work on: no swinging the napkins over our heads or wearing them like a hat, maintaining more food than ketchup on the plate to start, keeping your head above the table at all times, laughing at mom’s jokes, and not asking mom to tell the same joke more than three times.