By Thea DeLoreto, author of the blog The Lint Trap

I like to think that we have done a good job teaching Lady Baby her manners. She is pretty good about the basics, like ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ (good=70%). She is not bad with the using of ‘yes mam’ and ‘no mam’. The whole pronoun thing still pretty much eludes her, so most everyone is a ‘mam’ right now. At least she tries. The real troubles lie in her table manners. Or, should I say lack of table manners.

Here are the things I say on such a regular basis I want to jab my fork in my own ears:

~ Please sit down.
~ Everyone else is sitting down. You need to SIT DOWN.
~ We don’t stand in our seats. SIT DOWN.
~ When you are finished, just say so. Please don’t shove your plate as far from you as possible.
~ Leave your placemat on the table.
~ No throwing food.
~ No banging your spoon.
~ No banging your fork.
~ No scraping your spoon on the table.
~ No scraping your fork on the table.
~ If you don’t like it, just say so. Please don’t spit it out and/or throw it.
~ No feet on the table.
~ You have to sit in your chair to eat.
~ No feeding Ripley.
~ No feeding Ripley from your fork.

I have completely given up on things like eating hummus or yogurt with fingers. At this point I am just happy she is eating.

When we are out to eat, I get to add these gems to the list:

~ No crawling under the table.
~ No crawling on the table.
~ No screaming.
~ No squealing.
~ No feeding me.
~ No feeding Daddy.
~ No feeding anyone anywhere but yourself.
~ No singing at the top of your lungs.
~ No eating the crayons. (crayons and a color on place mat are all the rage. As if that would ever keep my child from running amok.)
~ No running around the restaurant like a wild animal on crack.
~ No crawling all over me.
~ No crawling up my back and hanging from my neck.
~ Please leave your shoes on.

You know the people who insist upon taking their child out to eat even though said child is unwilling to sit quietly and eat? Instead there is shrieking, crying, running, failing and a complete mess? We are those people. And we used to hate those people as much as everyone else. However, I no longer care if strangers stare and waiters have to serve us only if they loose a bet. Sometimes I want to eat out and I am going to eat out, even if the rest of the world hates me for it. Why should hubs and I be the only ones who have to suffer through meals with this crazy child?

Related news: I would like to apologize to the people who could not get in the door last night at Mellow Mushroom because I was busy putting the fear of God into my child in the entry way. I realize it was raining and I am sorry you had to stand out there.

I have faith at some point she will realize she is the only who is laying on the table and opening all the Splenda packets. I am just not sure at what age she will start to care. Or if she ever will.