How to Use a Spoon

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.”

Buy my book (I said that with my mouth full).

20 responses to “How to Use a Spoon

  1. There’s a good reason parents introduce their toddlers to a spoon. Because a fork draws more blood. And that’s just one more mess to clean up on a little tyke’s face.

  2. The only part missing from this manners lesson was them having their cell phone ringer volume on high, getting a call and having a long, loud conversation while still eating

  3. Haha! Gross…I’m still laughing about finger paintings and hanging diaper art on the fridge.

  4. Oh wow, unbelievable. Yuck, I can’t stand the feeling of anything dripping down my chin; how can you not feel that? Those parents need to consider getting take out and eating in the privacy of their own home.

  5. Reminds me of the time years ago when i took my daughter and her friend to a local diner. They grabbed toothpicks on the way out and were playing with them. I took them away, not wanting to see an eye poked out. They objected on the grounds that I had one so why couldn’t they. “I’m an adult,” I replied, “I can handle a toothpick.” That must have been over 15 years ago, and I still haven’t heard the end of it. 🙂

  6. I feel like my mother did a really good job of teaching me table manners, but unfortunately you can’t teach table coordination. During today’s lunch I managed to flip my fork onto the floor, flicking chicken onto myself and almost losing the plate in the scramble to catch it. This is why I eat alone.

  7. i bet the scary burrito eating couple have children with impeccable burrito eating skills. sometimes, that’s the way it works. in fact, they may never eat burritos as an adult from all the bad memories.

  8. Just read your posting and found it inspirational. (I can hear the sounds of squishy mastication from here…good diet plan.). There are so many economic programs focused on helping people obtain jobs, but has anyone considered instituting a coordinating mealtime etiquette program? Can you picture a serious lunch interview with a lip-smacking burrito drooler?

  9. I like you patting yourself on the back. Emerson once said of his friend Bronson Alcott that he was always feeling of his shoulders to see if wings had sprouted yet . 🙂 Thanks for liking my post !

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