Saturday, January 23, 2010

Food Detritus

The toddler sits in the wooden high chair, as his parents fuss over him. They offer morsels of food, sippy cups, and pacifiers. Maybe he smiles, and maybe he screams. Diners seated nearby curse their luck, as the table adjoining "the baby table" is certainly not the best seat in the house.

The meal ends, and the baby and his entourage pack up for the road. It is the wreckage they leave behind that this blog posting is concerned with.

We've all seen it. The table is covered with torn and shredded bits of food. Shattered teething biscuits lay scattered. The floor is even worse. There's a 4 foot blast radius littered with food detritus and crumpled napkins.

I pity the bussers and wait staff who must contend with this mess. In the years before Michael, I remember looking on such scenes with disgust and anger toward the parents. How dare they inconsiderately leave such a mess behind.

Now I know better. The food disaster zone just goes with the territory. We try to clean up as much as possible, but the food on the floor lingers like pants on the ground.

At home, we just rely on the Corgi food-a-matic to gobble everything up. She usually gets it before it even hits the ground. Dogs are great with babies. It's like having a Roomba that never needs charging.

There should be a new class of service dogs for parents dining at restaurants. Our specially trained "Eating Pie Dog" could join us in restaurants proudly wearing a working vest emblazoned with a knife and fork emblem. She would sit at the foot of the restaurant high chair to intercept and dispose of any food thrown, dropped, or otherwise ejected from the dining toddler. The dog gets a meal, the floor stays clean, and the restaurant staff doesn't have to deal with the disgusting baby food blast radius. Just an idea.


Sarah said...

I love this idea! We too have a self-cleaning floor. Ours is called "NeeNa" (that's Beana to the rest of us). She definitely performs a valuable service in our home. Sometimes the food doesn't leave the baby's HAND before she gets -- so quick on the draw is our NeeNa.

(Nice use of 'pants' by the way...I spit water on the keyboard. Thanks.)

Sarah said...

BTW, I think this might be a great program to pitch to shelters!