Monday, February 10, 2014

The unlikely placemat

Hell hath no fury like a kitchen table playing host to a toddler’s spaghetti dinner. The first time Scotty sat with us at the kitchen table – in his own booster seat, eating with his own set of utensils – we had spaghetti for dinner. What a poor, poor choice on my part. In hindsight, I had absolutely no idea what lie ahead for me in the clean-up department.

Our kitchen table is kind of nice. It is made of granite and polished cherry wood, and, yes, it was a purchase Scott and I made BC – Before Children. Even before we became parents, Scott and I never broke bread around here without unrolling a placemat. I know placemats are meant to get food on them…but they are not meant to withstand pounds of spaghetti sauce. I’m sorry, they’re just not. After Scotty finished dinner, Scott and I looked at what remained in horror. “I’m sorry, table,” Scott said, shaking his head. It was almost as if the table was suffocating under the onslaught of marinara and stray strands of angel hair. If Scott and I listened carefully, we could actually hear the table weeping.

A placemat would not be enough.

So guess what I’m using underneath Scotty’s kiddie placemat when he eats now? Yup, one of Scott’s old, holey Hanes undershirts. (I mean, the shirts are 3XL, after all, so they provide excellent coverage. I realize that not everyone has 3XL T-shirts lying around, but a ratty old towel works, too.)

Yes, it looks tacky. Yes, it looks uncivilized. But, damned if I care: It makes clean-up a cinch, because the shirt becomes the catch-all. I just sweep the whole thing up, shake off the excess pasta in the sink, and toss the shirt in the washer. Voila! I no longer throw out those ratty shirts. No, sir. They are keepers.
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14 comments:

  1. What a great idea! Isn't it amazing how, as moms, we learn to think outside the box? :)

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    1. Hi, Teresa! Let me tell you, motherhood has taught me to throw out the box completely. (If I had kept it, it would have become a catch-all for soggy Cheerios and...spaghetti sauce! LOL) No, seriously, you are so right. Improvisation. It's the new black. Thank you for commenting!

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    1. Thank you, Mari. I'm telling you, I can't make this stuff up...

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  3. You do what you gotta do. I have a love/hate relationship with spaghetti for this very reason. I always look forward to it, and then when I see the explosion around the baby, I'm all, "Never again."

    It's a vicious cycle. I'm actually surprised the highchair isn't permanently orange.

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    1. Yes, Paige! Scotty's high chair tray does indeed have a peach-ish tinge to it!!! And that was way before he even had spaghetti. I tried bleach and everything to restore it to its original cream-colored luster, but no dice. :-/

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  4. Such a great idea! I'd never have thought of that. (I think I'd need T-shirts for the floor, too.) Have a great week!. :)

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    1. Lexa, you are so, SO right. I have thought about putting them on the floor, too. But I've found that if I push Scotty up to the table as far as I can, the t-shirt and his wearable bib (which has a pocket) are a pretty good system. I still find myself on my hands and knees, cleaning up a few strays on the floor, though, especially if we have something as messy as spaghetti. Grrrrr.

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  5. I have so many questions...like why does a grown man have a cars tshirt? :o) We have an AC table that is cheap formica but cleans up like a dream. Sadly my husband wears a size small t-shirt, so I would have to sew three together -- haha!

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    1. Hi, Susan! No, no, no!!! That is SCOTTY'S Cars placemat OVER one of Scott's Hane's plain white men's undershirts. LOL Like I said in the post, the placemat alone is not enough. I need to call in the big guns during a spaghetti dinner...

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  6. "BC!" This is exactly like my sister's house. They have this beautiful dining table that they purchased BC and now it has an ugly plastic tablecloth over it, WITH towels over that. Straight up towels. It's so so funny. I don't blame her, that two year old will draw a toddler masterpiece all over that table.

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    1. Dina! Your comment was gift! It had me ROTFLMAO!!!! For Real! Yes, your sister knows what's up. "Straight up towels." Oh, God, I can't wait to show your comment to Scott; it's proof that we are not the only ones...

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  7. I'm sure you could look at thousands of homes that have used a t-shirt, an old shower curtain or even plastic sheeting as a catch all for messy children. It doesn't have to be pretty as long as it does the job!

    Sean at His and Her Hobbies

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    1. An old shower curtain.

      That is brilliant! Why didn't I think of that? All of our showers have doors in this house, but, I could easily swing by the dollar store and pick up several. And you know what? I just may do that!

      Thank you so very much for commenting.

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