when lessons in table manners go spiraling out of control

Elbows off the table. Check.
No singing/humming/rapping at the table. Check. (Yeah, rapping at the table was a problem for a while.)
No dancing at the table. Check.
Use your utensils. Still working on this one -- they're still not convinced that not everything is fingerfood.
Chew with your mouth closed. Check -- most of the time.

Our newest lesson is: No farting at the table.

I never knew this would be such a big problem for us. The modus operandi seemed so straight-forward: You hold it in until you next have to use the bathroom.

Despite the effort, we still ended up with the occasional accidental 'outgas' -- and by 'we', I mean Lam. Yes, it's a proud mom moment.

So, I decided that, if he truly can't hold it in any longer, he is allowed to leave the table, go to an empty room, let loose, then come back.

On this new plan, we've had good evenings, and when it's bad, it's like a revolving door between the diningroom and livingroom. Then there's last night...

The four of us were having dinner, enjoying pleasant conversation, catching up on our day, when Lam jumped off his chair and ran to the livingroom.

Me: "Hey, where are you going?!"

Lam (from the livingroom): "I need to fart!!!"  He returns to the table.

Me: "You should've excused yourself to let us know."

Roomie: "Or you could just try harder to hold it in until after dinner."

Me: "It's good practice."

Roomie: "Yeah, you'll appreciate it when you're older.  Like when you're in your car with your girlfriend. You can't fart, so you hold it until you can stop and tell her that you have to check the headlights or something. So, you make sure you walk ALL THE WAY around the car, then let loose as much as you want."

Me: "Right." At this point, I was foolishly thinking this was the end of the topic -- apparently, I was mistaken.

Roomie: "Just let it ooze out a bit at a time so she won't hear you."  Sigh.

Me: "Or just make sure the windows are closed." Crap, why didn't I just shut up? Now I'm just encouraging them.

Roomie: "When you had dinner at Adam's, did you feel like farting?"

Lam: "Yes."

Roomie: "What did you do?"

Lam: "I held it in."

Roomie: "It's easy, right? Look at me. I'm holding my farts in right now because --"

Me: "Okay, can we please talk about something else at the dinner table?!"

Great. I just wrote a whole post about farts. My pride is choking me.

Image by James Byrum


  1. You just know this post will skyrocket to the top of your most-read postings.

    Table manners are really tough, especially for 5-year old boys. It's just not natural for them to sit still and concentrate on a task like eating --- unless they're really hungry. We experience a direct correlation between hunger level, the perceived desirability of the food presented, and table behaviour. I'm certain that Philippine-style chicken made with banana sauce would cure the poor table manners but we've been unable to find a recipe to try it out (subtle hint there!).

    I think you need a copy of this book by Shinta Cho. If you're ever in the neighbourhood you can read our copy, but I'm not letting it out of my sight!

    And what's this about holding it in until you next use the bathroom? With our kids, that could be days!

    What exactly are you feeding him that is giving him what sounds like an extraordinary amount of gas? All edamame and cabbage with sour cream? And by designating authorized farting locations, aren't you worried he might grow up a little... umm... peculiar? I mean can't you just picture it --- "I have to fart, right now!" "So OK, fart" "You don't understand, I have to go home and stand in the northwest corner of the dining room to fart!"

    Seriously, maybe he's just generating more volume than most people, so it's harder to hold it in. Which would make him really popular among the other kids at school --- is he really popular?

    And I know Roomie, and what I'm seeing here is a classic case of "what ye sow, ye shall reap". I think the first year I met him he was telling me about all these fart tricks, like going up a flight of stairs and farting once on each step. This feat had a name, but fortunately I had forgotten it until now --- he called it the Fartway to Heaven. There were a few other tricks that had names but I can't remember them off the top of my head.

  2. Yeah so this post just top the list of favorites for me! You are frickin' hilarious! :D

  3. hahahaha.. gawd! Nenette!

  4. You might assume that with girls in the house, this would not be an issue.

    You'd be incorrect. Farting at the dinner table has been a subject of conversation - more than once.

  5. @albert:
    you slay me, albert! LOL :)
    yeah, my kid's 6 and it's only gotten worse... as you can see.

    Okay, I'll work on that sauce this weekend. I have to work out the measurements for you because I usually mix it by eye and taste. :)

    "Fartway to Heaven"?! And you couldn't have told me about this before I married the dude?!!! Gah!

    Glad you liked it! heeheehee :)


    Oh, I know... I grew up with a sister. :)

  6. I'd like to say "oh no, girls are just as bad" but I've said that before about other things, only to be proven wrong - boys add a certain Je ne c'est quoi. So, while I'd like to think we've experienced as bad as it's going to get with table manners, I know better than to tempt THOSE gods.

    That said, I do catch myself saying "HEY! Don't teach him that! (whatever 'that' is)" knowing full well he'd learn that on his own - or invent it. What we should be saying is "don't teach him that YET"

    Farting at the table I've tried *really* hard to ignore. Unless it's >ahem< accentuated (amplified?). And accompanied with fits of giggles. And a particularly voluminous bout ("ok, leave the table already")

  7. I believe I found a new favorite post! this rocks lol =)

  8. @Harmzie:
    Oh, believe me, we'd hit the point way past ignoring! It HAD to be addressed -- the giggle-fests post-fart were getting really disruptive. LOL

    LOL Glad you enjoyed it! :)

  9. That is hysterical! When I was a kid, my mom told me to hold it in, because otherwise I would "loosen" my "behind" and not be able to control when I passed gas. I, on the other hand, was worried about exploding.

  10. @Marinka:
    Explosion is a very real worry for kids. I understand. I was worried that holding it in would result in it going the other way: gassy-smelling burps. Yuck!

  11. This is sooo funny! :D The experience made for a great blog entry. Haha!

  12. @Toni:
    Thanks! :) I'm glad you enjoyed it.