It occurred to me earlier this week that while we taught Will the importance of saying "please" and "thank you" and some other basic manners, we haven't exactly schooled him in the art of etiquette (my apologies to Emily Post). Now, that doesn't mean that he's a an unruly child (most of the time) or that he doesn't have some sense of how to behave like a civilized human being, but lately his table manners have been less than perfect. And actually, if I'm being completely honest with you, eating a meal with Will sometimes ranks right up there with having a tooth pulled sans anesthetic or standing in front of a fast-moving train. In fact, there have been plenty of nights where I've sat with the kids during the dinner, but opted to eat after they go to bed just so that I can actually relax and enjoy my food (rather than having it sit in my throat for the next three hours). Also, we used to take Will out to restaurants quite a bit before Brody was born, but that has changed since he pretty much refuses to sit down and eat his meal without getting up a million times for one reason or another. Well we're finally at a point with Brody where it might actually be enjoyable to take the two of them out to eat, but since I absolutely refuse to take Will out in this current state, it's time for Manners 101. Here's the syllabus for the course:
-Take a seat on your seat: Sit on your bottom on your chair with your legs in front of you.
-Pass it on: Do not reach across the table for anything. Instead, ask politely for what you would like and someone will gladly pass it to you.
-Utensils are our friends: Please use the forks, spoons and knives placed in front of you to eat your food. Unless the food is specifically designated as "finger food," you may not use your fingers to eat it.
-Licking fingers is not finger-licking good: The napkin set to the left of your plate is there for a reason--use it. Do not lick your fingers or wipe your dirty hands on your clothes. For that matter, please do not wipe your dirty mouth or nose on your clothes.
-Excuse me?: Mealtime is not an active sport, so stay in your seat until the end.If you would like to leave the table once you have finished eating, please ask and wait to be excused.
So that doesn't seem to difficult, right? We're not asking for much, just some basic manners and civility. Will's reward for improving his table manner? We will, as a family, go to a restaurant of his choosing to enjoy a nice meal. Personally, I'm hoping he picks sushi, but my biggest hope, of course, is that his manners improve and family meals become enjoyable again.