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How to Live With Children: How to Have a Conversation at Dinner

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Cast: Dan=Dad, T=Daughter, age 3, O=Son, age 5

* * *

Dan: Okay Trixie, after dinner, you're going to have your poop try.

T: (very enthusiastically) Okay!

O: (with matching enthusiasm) Me too! (stuffs mouth with more mac n' cheese) (speaks with mouth completely full) And remember Trixie what happens if you -- (bolts out of chair, rushes quickly out of the kitchen) I'm going to have my try right now.

Dan: You okay?

O: (pauses in hallway, spins around languidly) I had to go during school. But then I didn't WANT to go in school. So I--

Dan: School ended three hours ago. We've been home for a long time.

O: But then I didn't have to go. I didn't have to poop anymore. I do not know why.

Dan: Okay.

O: (disappears into bathroom three feet from kitchen) This morning, there was--

Dan: Okay, just go... (turns kitchen sink on, drowning out most of Oscar's voice)

T: (eats blueberries)

O: (continues to speak, going into further detail about why he didn't poop when he had to, and then how he didn't have to anymore)

Dan: (turns off kitchen sink)

O: (falsettoed grunting)

T: What's he doing?

Dan: He's going to the bathroom.

O: (falsettoed singing)

T: I'm done eating. I think I'm done. (gets out of kitchen chair)

Dan: Okay, clear your dishes.

T: (runs past Dan) I have to wash my hands!

O: I do NOT want anyone in here while I'm pooping!

T: (runs into bathroom)

Dan: (runs after Trixie) (speaks enthusiastically, like it's a treat) In the kitchen Trixie! You can wash your hands in the kitchen!

T: No! In here! (wrenches the faucet on full blast)

O: (grunts angrily, not a pooping grunt)

Dan: Come on, Trixie it's not fair! (turns off water, ushers T out of bathroom) Oscar wants privacy, just like you like your privacy!

T: (runs stompingly into the bedroom) Well then I'm just going to do THIS! (throws body onto bed, contorts it Exorcist style)

Dan: Okay, that's fine.

T: And THIS (readjusts contortion)

Dan: Okay.

O: (sing-songy) I'm done, Daddy. Oh Daddy!

Dan: (sing-songy) Coming!

O: I only wiped two times because after two times I reached the end. There was no more.

Dan: Makes sense. (grabs new roll of toilet paper, gives one last wipe for good measure)

O: That one really hurt.

Dan: Really?

O: It was a big poop.

Dan: Oh, okay. Wash your hands.

O: Yup, I'm going to go back and finish my blueberries. (gets soap on hands, turns faucet on, holds hands as still as mannequin hands, near-ish to the water) (turns off water)

Dan: Oscar.

O: Oh!

Dan: Don't "oh." You didn't wash your hands. You have to actually scrub and rub.

O: Oh yeah.

Dan: You are going to go eat food after you just pooped. If you don't wash your hands after you poop, it is like you are going to eat your own poop.

O: (examines hands closely for poop)

T: (meanders back to the action)

Dan: You're not going to always be able to see the poop, but it's still there. Remember about the germs?

O: (washes hands like a normal person) Yeah! Like that book!

Dan: Okay, good. Go finish up. Trixie, you ready for your try?

T: Yeah! (gets toilet all set up for herself) I want privacy!

Dan: Okay. (closes door)

T: (zero seconds later) I'm done!

Dan: (opens door)

T: I'm done!

Dan: (way over enthusiastically) Yay! Wow! Amazing!

T: It's a big one!

O: (from the kitchen) Wait for me!

Dan: All right! Great job! (goes about cleaning her up)

O: (runs, then slides into the door frame, in what would be a concussion for most humans) Great job Trixie!

Dan: (washes Trixie's hands) Okay, good job everybody.

O: Don't forget the purple pretzels. Two.

Dan: (walks to kitchen, grabs two purple pretzels from cupboard, places them on counter)

T: (grabs purple pretzel, finishes eating within two seconds)

O: (grabs purple pretzel, eats it milligram by milligram) This is like a really nice dessert!

Dan: Yup.

Total Time: three minutes

2014-07-02-htlwcdinner.jpgPhoto by Dan Milledge

This was originally published over at How to Live With Children