The Playful Table... or Weird Family Traditions

January 5, 2010 by Rieshy
I grew up in a playful, usually happy, and always competitive family.  Case in point:

Every night we ate dinner together at the table.  All 6 of us.  Every night, after a dinner full of boisterous conversation, everyone but my father would push back from the table and begin clearing the dishes.  Every night, one member of the family would be designated the losing owner of the "pig plate".

Let me explain, the "pig plate" was the plate onto which the scraps from other family member's plates were scraped.  Nothing more.  It didn't mean you had to do the dishes alone, it didn't mean you had eaten too much or too sloppily.  It just meant that you had lost

"Pig Plate, Pig Plate, Susan has the Pig Plate," is a chant I can still hear being laughingly/teasingly/annoyingly sung on the nights I lost.

Why did we have competitive table clearing? What was so awful about having your empty plate used for clearing? What criterion was used to determine the evening's pig plate owner?

No idea, then or now.  But it was fun, and even my Dad didn't like losing.  

I want my children to grow up in a playful home.  I hope that someday, as adults, they will be working quietly on a mundane task when a stray memory of their growing-up triggers a smile.

Anyone else have weird, playful family traditions?

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Anonymous said...

Our family tradition that I hope our kids will remember, is us DANCING in the kitchen whenever a certain song comes on the radio. It's a popular song out now that the kids love to hear and whenever it comes on the radio whether they are near or far, they will scream and run and they all (sometimes Dad and I included) would start dancing in the kitchen. We call the kitchen the dance floor! LOL


Rieshy said...

That's a great one:)

Melanie said...

Alan sticks carrots and grapes up his nose, and they all love to set things on fire if there are candles on the table. Ok, maybe that's just weird. LOL

Kim & Dave said...

No, I can't think of anything for my kids now, but my dad used to lay on the living room floor & tickle anyone who came close enough to grab. They called it "tickle fighting." I hated it, so I steared clear! But all my siblings LOVED it!

I should have something for my kids today, though.

Jodi aka One Blessed Mama said...

That is too cute! Thanks for sharing!

Aiming4Simple said...

My dad would make up silly songs from time to time. The most memorable one was composed on a road trip. It started out "O the giant armadillo lives outside of Amarillo..." Very fun.

Now, interestingly, I am married to a man who composes impromptu lyrics as well. Each of our children has at least one song of their own. Example: "He's a grabby little boy, who likes to play with toys..."

Anonymous said...

We used to play a table game called "Thumper". Everyone had a non-verbal signal, and it was sort of a silly memory game. Loud too, as you might expect from the title. (The thumping was our hands on the table between signals).

Now, my husband and I make up silly rhyming songs all the time for my daughter. Actually, it has helped with her speech quite a bit, although the original intent was just silly FUN....a win, win!!

se7en said...

That's great, the father person in our house is so good at spontaneous fun and I am so good at getting everyone to bed on time!!! We balance out well!!! Have a great week!!!

Anonymous said...

Why, oh, why can't I recall any of the ones from my childhood?! I know that we had them.
The only thing that comes to mind, even though it's only a memory of my Dad, is we used to have a microwave with a dial timer. Remember those? And many times I watched my Dad stand still and patient as he waited on a cup of coffee to warm up. Then when the microwave went "DING!", he would put up his fists and pretend he was boxing. I don't know how many times I saw him do this!
It sounds like dads are the ones for spontaneous fun. It is this way in my home also. I try but my husband is so much better at it than I.
Thanks for this thought provoking post:)

Diana Albert said...

Abby is still young but I try to make it a fun time when we hear my husband come home. I sing a song called "I'm so glad when daddy comes home" and dance around and Abby's eyes just light up! I hope to think of more fun moments as she gets older. Thanks for the post!

Anonymous said...

Everything we do is weird, but it is nice to see other weird people too!

Rieshy said...

Kim-My Dad did tickle fighting too. That's my husband's job now. The kids love it.

So funny to read everyone else's weirdness:)

Susan said...

I love reading about your playful table. I find dinnertime to be such a rough time of day around here and my least spontaneous time of day too. Recently we've been able to get some fun going on towards the end of the meal of holding hands and imitating each other...our little person (almost 3) finds it very funny (and we do too). I really want her to look back and remember us being playful as a family (not just one to one).

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