Most often associated with wildfire prevention, for us it more accurately describes the drastic measures we must now take with the little one while sitting at the dinner table.
We’ve reached the high chair stage. Going out to restaurants no longer means banishment to the car seat on the floor, being rocked by the toe of mom or dad. Seven months in and we’re now sitting up in a restaurant supplied high chair seeing the smorgasbord of food, plates, utensils, and waitresses who flock to the table to coo over him. Most of the aforementioned list can do some pretty serious damage if he were to get his hands on them. You pick which.
Like most kids his age, he’s becoming much more active with his hands, everything he can grab instantly goes into the mouth. It’s like there’s a mouth magnetic pull he just can’t resist. As we sit at the table our lives have become defined by how quickly we can shove a piece of food into our mouths while simultaneously reaching for the object that he has somehow jedi-mind-tricked to within arms length of the edge of the table. It’s an impromptu dance with each bite, that I’m sure has people at other tables fascinated and thankful it’s not them.
The whole process has prompted us to create defensible space. A zone immediately surrounding his high chair in which no items are allowed, unless they’re soft and can be sacrificed to the ground. Because ultimately every…single…item he touches will fall victim to the germ infested ground (5-second rule anyone?). How long it actually lasts on the table is worthy of Las Vegas style odds.
Before fatherhood, I never gave much thought to the idea of fortifying my dinner table. Maybe building a moat with ketchup on my plate every once and a while if my chicken nuggets were under siege by some peas. But now we’re hoarding the entire contents of a dinner to one side and creating defensible space in the name of keeping our little one safe…from himself.