Before you had kids, advice is everywhere. Some of it you search out, and some of it is thrust upon you. Everybody has thoughts on things like breast feeding, the safest car seat, using a pacifier, if/when/how often you should hit your kid. However, there is one area of parenting on which nobody offered me advice, and I certainly wouldn’t have thought to seek out on my own, which has come to rear its ugly head. Plates and cups.
The amount of advice on what kids use to eat and drink greatly decreases as they grow. There are volumes of information on which bottle you should use and why. There are ample product reviews on different kinds of sippy cups. But regular cups? By the time a kid is old enough to drink from a normal cup and eat off of a normal plate, they are all the same, right? Anybody who believes that has clearly never given an orange cup to three year-old who wanted a blue one. Hell hath no fury.
While I don’t intend for this to be a place to come to for advice, I can’t help but provide some of the knowledge I wish I would have been told before I thought “hey, let’s get this Mickey Mouse cup!”
Fiesta Ware Is Not For Kids
When my wife and I picked out our silverware and dishes for our wedding registry, we wanted to go with something that wouldn’t be plain. Who wants to eat a burrito off of a boring white plate? Not us. We opted for the kaleidoscope that is Fiesta. Our table popped with blues, greens, reds, and oranges mixed and matched together to create a treat for the eyes while I got down on treats for my tum tum. As newlyweds, we weren’t considering our hypothetical future children when were chose these. Such fools we were.
Once we had kids and those kids got old enough to eat off plates, setting the table became a guessing game that nobody wins. Give them a green plate, they want a red one. Let them pick their plate, you’ve set yourself off on a slippery slope that leads to two kids crying over the last clean blue plate. God help you if the dishwasher is in the middle of a cycle and both kids want blue plates. A few days ago I made the grievous error of accidentally giving the wrong plate to the wrong kid, and then switching them after they already sat down to eat. One cried because the other had gotten their plate, the other cried because I took the plate they never knew they always wanted and gave it to her sister.
We have now implemented a policy of “You Get What You Get and You Don’t Throw a Fit.” Now instead of riding the rollercoaster of either getting their favorite plate or throwing a fit when they don’t, they now experience a constant state of disappointment. It makes it easier to give them food and it teaches them an important life lesson. Double bonus.
If having kids is something you’re considering on any level, do your future self a favor and pick the plainest plate and the most basic cup you can find, then buy 20 of each. Also, if you get multiple sizes, you’re just asking for it.
You Must Call a Plate a Plate
Watching kids grasp the English language is equal parts fun and frustrating. The broken English of baby talk is adorable. The mispronunciation of words inevitably works its way into your everyday vocabulary and replaces the actual versions of those words. We don’t ask for more in our house, we ask for moy. However, once the language is firmly grasped children become the worst possible versions of high school writing teachers. I fear the day my kids learn whom, but for now their overly strict correction is focused on when you accidentally call their bowl a plate.
“Take your plate to sink,” is said so often in my house I fear my baby son might think it’s his name. At this point it’s a reflex. Its rolls right off the tongue without thought of what actual food vessel they are using. If you ever want to be talked down to buy somebody who can’t be trusted to wipe their own butt, ask them to take their plate to the sink when they were using a bowl. Or ask them to take their bowl to the sink when they’re using a snack cup.
Gonna sass my word choice about your snack cup? It’s actually a ramekin you smart shit how about that?
Kids Can’t See Cups
The supreme irony of a child demanding a specific size, shape, and color of cup is that once it is filled with liquid and set down in front of them it immediately falls into a cup shaped blind spot. If something they want is on the other side of their cup, that cup – and its very likely sticky contents – are getting blasted all over the kitchen like its the end of American Beauty.
Reaching for a napkin? Milk is going down. Grabbing a fork? Water on the floor. Trying to pick up the juice? Goodbye juice. It might not be the best parenting, but I often forget to give my kids something to drink with dinner. But you know what? They don’t notice. For all they know there is a full glass of chocolate milk sitting right in front of them, yet squarely in their blind spot.
Would owning only one kind of plate and one kind of cup be boring? Yes. Would it be the best parental decision you ever made? Absolutely.