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.