I was enjoying a burrito with my wife this evening. We were at one of those burrito assembly line restaurants and I ordered a burrito that was bigger than my head. Good stuff.
There was this mother and daughter at the table next to us. The mother was feeding her little daughter with a fork from across the table. It was a messy process. There was a bit of bean and other sauces hanging off of her chin. It was at that point that the flood gates of memories opened up and came rushing into my brain. I have to admit to having a real problem when the day came to introduce the spoon to my children. You know that very young age where you give your kid a spoon and their little not yet developed brains attempt to mimic the actions of the older spoon experienced users. It usually turns out that at the conclusion of the meal, the spoon is the cleanest part of the area surrounding—because no food actually hits the spoon.
I was a good father to my young children and I continue to be one still. Ouch! My shoulder hurts badly when I pat myself on the back like that. But I must admit to stepping aside and letting the Mom deal with the spoon introduction. Way too messy for this guy to deal with. Let me know when they figure out how to actually get food off of their plates and into their mouth without turning the table into a bad finger painting. Let me know when they can raise food with their spoon without squeezing the food with the other hand. Let me know when they have the ability to get the food to enter their mouth without hitting their chin or their nose first.
By the way, all finger paintings are bad. Its paint pushed around by an infant. Compare the final design to what the “artist” produced in their diaper on that same day. Not a lot different really. It’s just harder to hang on the refrigerator.
Back to my point—why doesn’t food spread all over your face bother children? How can you sit there comfortably with a pound and half of food hanging off of your face? How can you tolerate the fact that you have apple sauce in-between each of your fingers as well as behind your ears?
So I’m sitting there in the restaurant really being affected with the mess that this little girl is making when I turn and look in the other direction and witness this other set of parents with their two children. Their children were older—perhaps teenagers. And there it was, food hanging off their faces. Disgusting. Only it wasn’t the children, it was the parents! I couldn’t look away at this point. The father looked like he just dipped his chin into a vat of goo. I’ll bet as an infant, he really enjoyed apple sauce. Sir, have you seen the napkin dispenser? It could be your new best friend.
And then the mother—Wow. Apparently there was no one in her world that ever explained to her that chewing with your mouth closed is an option that you can choose to embrace. Food was literally falling from her mouth on to the table. Absolute Neanderthal.
These two people were made for each other. I felt bad for the children. They both had their back to me, but only one of two things could have been occurring. One, they were mortified by their parents impression of infant eating their first year’s birthday cake. Or two, they also had food on their faces and/or falling out of their mouths. I’d bet on option number two.
I turned to my wife and said “I love you.”
“Really? Why are you telling me that?”
“I love you because you know how to put food in your mouth without hitting your forehead and I don’t have to observe each of the phases that food goes through during the chewing process.”