Friday, April 01, 2011

Do I dare?

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
There were dinners where my mother would put her face in her hands, not sure whether to laugh or cry at my sibs' antics. My brothers eventually dubbed this reaction the "laugh-cry" and felt they had scored points if they drove my mother to this state of exasperation before a meal's end.

Crash and the Boy sit diagonally across from each other at the dinner table, a configuration deliberately chosen to put as much space between them as possible in the (usually vain) hope that this will limit the ways in which they can irritate each other to the merely verbal. And , despite have banned any material which incorporates one or more of the seven motifs of disgust as topics, the verbal alone is often enough to drive me to "laugh-cry."

The guys have grown lanky over the last year. There never seems to be quite enough room under the table for their long legs and suddenly enormous feet, and the sub rosa jockeying for space not infrequently erupts into overt sparring. The other night, the Boy reached his limit and grabbing a fork full of his dinner, held it up in firing position ("food fight" and Revenge of the Nerds flashed through my brain). Then he quoted the tidbit above from T.S. Eliot, and treated us to a soliloquy on decision making.

He finished by turning to me and inquiring if I appreciated the irony. "Of someone mature enough to quote Eliot and immature enough to throw food?" I shot back. "Believe me, I do."

Disclaimer: No food was actually thrown in the incident recounted here (or in the writing of this post).


  1. Those lanky legs get in the way of peace during meals at my house too. I loved this post!

  2. Hahahaha!!

    Oh and to top it all off with a child who understands irony.

    As it is happening.

    Oh what joy - it does make me want to cry.


  3. Great story! We have the same dynamic here: the 8th grader was so mean to his sister while I was helping him with his college Spanish homework that I sent him to bed early!

  4. And the feet, Kathryn, the feet just can't stay still!

    Cindy, and how ironic is it to create/comment on your own irony?

    Laura, I think I'm actually the one they are both trying to drive nuts!!!

  5. I don't know about the feet at your house but my boys both have Size 13 feet! They almost don't fit under the table.

  6. 11 1/2's...and that's big enough!!! 13's would not fit under the table, I'm sure...

  7. I think there is something kind of amazing about how our kids can take us to the edge ... where fun and games is literally bumping up against out of control.

    I would never go there of my own accord. And yet, I follow my kids there all the time.

    Maybe follow isn't the word. But it's where I find myself over and over again!

    When it doesn't devolve into chaos I'm so grateful.

  8. sadly disappointed. The food should have been launched. Easy to say from this safe distance

  9. LOVE IT! I have 2 teenagers too...I am SO there. (And they are both big fans of finding those ironic moments. Not to mention food fights--which don't happen, but are often threatened.)