Friday, February 26, 2010

No dog = good table manners??

We were at Ikea the other day and were having supper in the restaurant (resting up at the half-way point).  Both kidlets had the mac and cheese, which they love.  The little one, who is 16 mos old, was about to toss some of his noodles on the floor when his big brother piped up and said, "No, don't throw it, they don't have dogs here!!"

Can you tell that we have a dog?  This dog loves kids especially once they start using highchairs and like to share their snacks with the dog.  She's not a small dog (60lbs) so without much effort her head is basically at tray height.  I'm sure that there has been food held out to the dog, licked by the dog, then taken back and eaten by the kid.  (Now go to your happy place and repeat "Better immune systems" until you get over the whole butt-licking dog germ thing).

This whole "Ikea doesn't have any dogs" episode made me think that perhaps we're a little too lax with our food dropping habits.  The kids will only not drop stuff if they think that they might have to clean it up.  Perhaps as parents we encourage it from an early age... "Baby spit-up on the floor, call the dog she'll clean it up."  then later... " if you drop your cookie the dog gets it" and now " uh oh, Maggie - clean up in aisle 2, cheerios on the floor". 

In our defense as parents we used to have two big dogs when our first son was little and there was no second chance to grab food as the dogs scrambled for it.  To ensure that no little hands got bit we told our older son just to leave it if it fell and basically to step back and watch the show.  Of course that made it into a game  (sigh).  Now we only have one dog, but the game is still there.  I watch my younger son giggle as he tosses cheerios for her and she happily devours them - really who can get upset while listening to a toddler belly laugh.  

Since all kids like to throw stuff from the high chair my parting thought is, "Thank god I wasn't cat person because my dog will eat almost anything as long as it comes from the kids!"  :-)

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