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The Missing Manners Rule

The beginning of this post reads like a sponsored post, but it isn’t. Stick with me til the end for a funny story about Grace and her friend.

A week or so ago, we got some really neat books in the mail.

The books came from a company called Papersalt. A company representative reached out to me on Twitter and asked if they could please send me some free books.

I get a few dozen requests just like this pretty much every day, and I almost always ignore them. It’s not that I want to be rude, but I would have to spend hours every day answering email in order to respond to each request personally, and I’d rather spend that time with my kids.

Anyway, Papersalt caught me at just the right time, and I clicked through to their website and looked at their books. Two of the books caught my eye, so I said yes, they could send me Dinner Table Manners, Take the Stairs, and a “Me” Journal. I was eager to see them, but still not sure whether I’d write about them here. (I am very, very selective about the products I will talk to you about, my Dear Reader.)

The package arrived a few days later, and Grace was sure it was a present. The Dinner Table Manners book is orange with big, bold type and goofy looking monsters decorating many of the pages.

These are exactly the books that I would make if I ever went into the book-making business.

In fact, there may be a prototype journal in my living room, printed but never finished. Begun in a characteristic moment of idea brilliance, the journal was abandoned when the logistics complicated my plans. That’s a story for another time.

Back to the Papersalt books. Grace was so taken with the books that she begged me to read them to her over supper.

In between bites, I read to her a list of good manners:

  • Never let anyone hear you chew
  • Keep your elbows off of the table
  • Place your napkin in your lap immediately upon being seated

I knew the book’s lessons had really made an impression when I overheard Grace imparting them to her best friend the next day.

We never put our elbows on the table, Morghan. she said gravely. It’s not nice manners.

I was pleased and a little prouder than I should have been.

The day after that was my mom’s birthday. We went out for dinner at the Olive Garden (yes, it was the same trip that I mentioned yesterday), and I sat between my progeny.

I was impressed and smug when Grace put her napkin neatly on her lap, and I praised her profusely at the end of the meal for being so quiet and so polite the whole way through a lengthy dinner.

Because they were both so well behaved and ate well, I ordered Grace and Allie each an ice cream sundae for dessert. (Did you know that a child’s ice cream sundae at the Olive Garden is only $1.65? I was surprised since an iced tea is almost double that. Anyway.)

Allie, of course, made a mess with her ice cream. She began using the spoon, but it was not delivering ice cream to her mouth in large enough quantities, and Allie quickly switched to using her fingers.

It happens; she’s 18 months old.

I looked in Grace’s general direction but was really staring into space. She sat up nicely in her chair, happily and quietly eating her sundae. I wasn’t paying attention, but heard my mother and sister tittering. I heard my mom say, “She doesn’t even see it.”

I looked at my mom and then at Grace, just in time to see her lick her almost empty bowl and sit it down gently on the table.

“Did she just –” I began, and my mom and sister broke into side-splitting laughter.

“Two times, Mom!” My mother held up two fingers for emphasis.

Joe apparently hadn’t noticed, either. “What? What’d I miss?” he asked.

“Just your daughter drinking ice cream like milk from a cereal bowl, that’s all,” my sister said.

I don’t recall anything in the Papersalt book mentioning Do not pick up your plate or bowl and lick it – especially when you’re in public.

Surely, it was an oversight. I think I need to find an empty spot and add that in.

Papersalt sent me three free books, as I described above. This post is not sponsored, and we paid for our dinner at the Olive Garden.

© 2012 – 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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