Thanksgiving is a struggle in my family. Actually, as much as I want to be one of those “family dinner” moms, I have to admit that getting everyone to sit down and eat is one of the worst parts of my day. My kids try hard, but they are so excited to chat with each other, they have ideas, they bounce up and down to write notes, get toys, giggle and tell jokes that there isn’t a whole lot of eating. I have to put on my “mean mommy” voice just to get enough dinner into them so they are not hungry later. And this is all ten times worse when my husband makes it home for dinner–they are so excited to see him that they can’t concentrate. Remember, my twins are four and my older one is seven, and yes I am appalled just writing this!
Living in the D.C. metropolitan area, with family along the I-95 corridor, the thought of slugging through Thanksgiving traffic to a sit down meal is exhausting–especially with kids who can’t just sit and eat. I am aware of the whole purpose of the holiday–passing on tradition, visiting family, teaching manners and values. However, our whole meal will be filled with cajoling the kids to sit down, try your food, no you can’t get up yet. Two hours of cooking will be over in 20 minutes and I usually end up with a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking Thanksgiving is the holiday full of food they don’t like; where they have to sit still and eat without fuss. That’s no fun.
So this year we’ve given ourselves permission to take the holiday “off”. We plan to be tourists in our own city–swapping museums and monuments for Macy’s parades and football games. I will cook the usual Thanksgiving foods the day before and have a casual meal of leftovers after the kids go to bed, exhausted after seeing the sites. This plan sounds relaxing and more along the lines of our family’s values–having fun, active, learning experiences together. Yes, we are still reading Thanksgiving books, doing turkey crafts, making the requisite Native American feather headband, and hopefully my kids will learn that Thanksgiving is a fun day for our family no matter how we celebrate it.
How do you celebrate Thanksgiving with multiples?
Leslie H. is a freelance writer and mom to a spunky seven-year-old girl and adventurous four-year-old twin boys.