Leah just told me a story and I need to pass it on because its hilarious. First let me go over some of the many rules in play at the dinner table. You must eat everything on your plate. You may go for seconds after you ask a teacher but only if the table before you has gone and if the line has not yet extended past the window frame of the first window. (The tables are numbered starting from one.) All second helpings must include 2 portions of vegetables not including potatoes. If the meal is a winner there is often restrictions on portion sizes, I will not get into this though. Each meal must be accompanied with a minimum of one glass of water (milk at breakfast). At lunch there is desert, you must ask to proceed before proceeding. At supper you must go to the fruit table (after asking permission) and take two different pieces of fruit. Seconds of desert are only allowed if you have had seconds of the main course. Thirds are allowed of the main course but that is the maximum. You must remain in the dining hall for 20 minutes before asking permission to leave. If you remain longer than 30 minutes you must take your meal into the kitchen and finish off there, as the tables are beginning to be cleared.
So Leah and I supervise a table, ensuring that all above rules are followed. We also try to teach proper table manners.
This following of rules, especially the ‘scrape your plate completely clean’ rule, can be difficult to follow and even more so to enforce. Who wants to eat yucky veggies? Or potatoes? Staff has it great because it’s self serve so we can pick and choose which delicacies we wish to avoid. The kids get served by the kitchen staff and therefore have no say. However the portions are tiny so their small tummies should be able to handle it all.
So at lunch today I noticed this one little girl named Nkheke (pronounced Nkaykay) peering down her dress and twitching this way and that. I chastised her for improper gymnastics at the table so she stopped. I mentioned this to Leah in passing a short while ago and she started howling. She had noticed Nkheke’s twitching too. She had also noticed a number of small piles of mashed potatoes surrounding Nkheke’s chair. Nkheke had been stuffing her unwanted potatoes down her dress to hide them.
This is why we have rules!