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Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I try not to judge people with kids... since I don't have any... but let me tell you what I saw and you can be the jury on this one.

Mr. D. and I were having a quick lunch at a very busy Chic Fil A. Across from us were two ladies with a VERY messy baby... food everywhere... cereal on the floor... etc. They clean off their table and get up to leave. About 3 minutes later another family sits down. (by the way, no employee had wiped down the table from the last family... but the top was clear and the table looked clean.)

This family consists of very pregnant mom, her about 18 month old toddler, and grandma. Here is where things go gross. They get the high chair thing and grandma proceeds to wipe it down with a clorox wipe... starting at the seat and legs and finishing with the part where the kids puts his hands... (I was already beginning to feel like maybe they were wiping the germs ON TO the part of the highchair they wanted to be clean... considering that the seat and legs probably are not going to have contact with the baby's mouth.) But... clorox is bleach right.. so I figure that it will probably disinfect the thing alright. Then.. grandma cleans the kids slimy HANDS with the same clorox wipe... the one where she had just cleaned the seat of the highchair! I am starting to stare at this family. Then they throw the clorox wipe onto the tray with the food and takes a napkin and wipe off the table in front of the kid.

Now... up until this point I think "well.. god bless them.. at least they are trying to clean it up for the kid" Except the part with putting clorox onto the little guys hands... which, incidently, go directly into his mouth about 2 seconds later.

But this is where things take a terrible turn.

The very pregnant mom then takes a banana out of her bag and begins to cut it up for the baby... DIRECTLY ON THE TABLE in front of him. The kid is now eating (with his bleach covered hands) mushed up wet banana directly from the table at a fast food restaurant!!! I mean this is the one surface that they just brushed off with a napkin!!!

My mouth hits the floor and Mr. D's eyes are about as big as saucers watching this.

So then they add some cheerio's and mushed up chicken strips to the mix (still directly off the table) and continue on with their happy little lunch.

I could not believe this! I seriously feel sick watching it.

I would never even consider taking my chicken sandwich and fries and dumping them directly on to the fast food restaurant table and eating them. I can't IMAGINE thinking this was ok for your baby!!!!

Surely you could put down a napkin, or bring a baby placemat or small plastic plate for your child to the Chic Fil A.... right? I mean I know it is hard to be a mom... but for two adults to think that this was ok... Am I crazy??? Am I over-reacting???

Anyway... I look at Mr. D. and he says "don't they make, like, plates for kids?"
I say "yeah."
He goes "That is completely disgusting."
Me - "uh huh."
Him - "You are gonna write about this on your blog aren't you?"
Me - "yep."

So... discuss amongst yourselves.


Blogger One Mother's Journey said...

That is absolutly disgusting. There is obviously some brain activity happening that they knew what Clorox wipes were but clearly it stoped there.

I saw a good one the other day also - if my sandwich wasn't so good I would have had to stop eating. heh.

A couple were at the restraunt with their baby that was about a year old. The baby had a pacifier in her mouth while sitting in the high chair waiting for her parents to finish cutting up her food. (They used a plate!) She took the pacifier out her mouth and dropped it down on the restraunt floor. The father picked it up and handed it back to her and in the mouth it went. This happened twice. I wasn't close enough to be able to hear them but the mother said something to him and the next time it happened he picked it up, stuck it in his own mouth and then handed it back to the baby.

Honestly, I thought I was going to be sick.

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok as a mother of a 15 month old I will say I wash the table and chairs with a clorox wipe at fast food places (we rarely go anyways) and his hands with a regular wipe. We do not use a napkin (its paper and he will eat it and possibly choke on it) and plates mean the food and the plate will hit the floor. Plus where I live I can not find the kids placemats. I had several at one time and then they stopped selling them by me.

Personally I figure if they cleaned the table and chair and then fed the baby there were doing the best they could. At least they cleaned the stuff first.

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Kellie on both your story and hers. Disgusting. The whole act of wiping down where the child SITS with Clorox and where the child EATS with a paper napkin makes no sense and just goes along with my personal theory about the inverse relationship between fertility and intelligence. However, as a big fan of your blog, I have to say that my favorite part is that your husband knew you would write about it.

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The parents at least attempted to be clean. Babies, especially crawlers, find all sorts of stuff to put in their mouths. I guess that is why God made us so durable. As far as pacifiers go, babies drop those things and pick them up themselves we we don't even know about, so again, thank God He made us durable.

12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, new rule for those of you feeding your baby directly off cleaned "cloroxed" tables. The next time you feed your baby off this "clean table" you have to put your food on the same table and eat it straight off there too. I can bet most of you wouldn't dare let your food sit on the strange table... most people don't even like their silverware to touch the table.

This is disgusting and unsanitary. If there is no other choice because napkins can be swallowed and plates will end up on the floor, then try the novel idea of actually FEEDING your child with a spoon from your plate!

Resturants and fast food joints are public places not your own private kitchen!

5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


And here is another reason not to let your children's (or your) food EVER hit the table at a restaurant... Many, many years ago I was working in a restaurant when a pregnant woman's water broke at her table. After we got her out of there and comfortably zooming toward the hospital, our bus boy went over to clean up the, well, mess. He was on his knees scrubbing and rinsing for about ten minutes. When he was done, he gave the table a cursory wipe. WITH THE SAME TOWEL, PEOPLE!!! I shudder just thinking about it.

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Erin said...

OH, Man, totally gross. How stupid.
You know what my MIL does that grosses me out? She takes the sponge that's been sitting in my sink and wipes off Ryan's high chair tray with it before he eats. I'm like, would you just wipe down your plate with a sponge without rinsing it or anything and then eat off of it? Then why do that to him? I swear sometimes, people treat their children like pets instead of, um, well, people.

5:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is disguisting...

But I feel like I see staff like that all the time. My biggest shock was when I saw Mom let her 3-4 mos old daugther croll on the carpet right in front of the restroom in Nordstrom. the baby would drop pacifier from time to time and then Mom would pick it up, put in her mouth and then in her daugther's....BUT! just to be fair I have to say I lowered my standards since becoming Mom. First, I feel when babies go to daycare all this staff happens anyway. Second, when I talk to people and express my surprise and disguist over something I normally get the opposite reaction, like "Oh, it is normal". So, I am adapting too. I would still never let my child croll near public restroom, but I would put his pacifier in my mouth and then back in his, if I don't have anymore clean pacifiers in the bag....
Finally, I just want to say- I was not born in the USA, I came here when I was 22. Now 10 years later I saw sooo many things judjed and treated very different compare to USA and my home country. So, I figured a lot of it what people just so used to believe, they cannot even imagine any other way. Yet in Europe everybody thinks completely opposite, and just as passionately belives it. So, go figure.
Jamie, you are great. I love your blog and I believe you will have your baby soon:)
Best wishes.

Julie, MD

6:08 AM  
Blogger DD said...

Dang. A lot of anonymous responses so far...or is that blogger acting up again???

My mother has used the dish towel to wip my son's face and I am completely disgusted knowing that. However, I have to remember that I have also spit on a kleenex to wipe something off his face and each time remember someone once saying, why not just spit on your kid and save the kleenex?

As for this family you saw, maybe it would be less disturbing if they hadn't bothered to attempt to sanitize as they obviously have no clue which end is up. And just how expensive are these wipes that they couldn't have used a couple?

7:04 AM  
Blogger Chas said...

I'm not big on feeding the baby off of a public table...let alone one that has only been wiped with a dry napkin...all that does is smear anything that was already there!

I think that you were right to be disgusted and grossed out!

7:31 AM  
Anonymous sassy said...

I'm loving all these anon comments and you need that tshirt that says "I'm blogging this". :)

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While that is disgusting and I would never do that to my child...I have seen worse.

8:09 AM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

First, I believe that is all really gross and completely unsanitary conditions for a child to eat, but...Clorox Wipes do not contain bleach - not that it means it's okay to be using them on your children - that is certainly a safety issue! One wouldn't wipe her child off with Windex or 409, would she?!

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I can't believe what people here find disgusting. As a parent of 14 month old IVF twins (hey - I guess infertiles can also be bad parents), I would do the same thing - wipe the table down - and then put finger foods on it. Any napkin, plate or placemat would immediately end up on the floor along with any food. At 14 months, they are mostly eating foods that would not be spoon fed. They would grab the spoon and throw that on the floor relatively quickly. So I guess you are all saying we should stay in our house all the time - away from any potential germs in the world. Personally I find some of the judgmental notes here disgusting.

5:22 PM  
Anonymous Steph said...

Ummm sorry for posting anon at first. I don't have a blog but like reading this one.

I could only DREAM of spoon feeding my 15 month son. He takes the spoon and throws it. I mean he hates spoons. It’s an age thing. In about a year he will be using utensils himself. Sorry you all find this appalling but I refuse to keep myself locked up in my house for days on end and never go some place to eat because my child hasn't learned table manners yet and at 15 months I am just happy when he eats. Don't judge others when you don't know that child.

BTW most restaurants get that kids make messes AND when I go to a sit down nice restaurant my tip is not only for their service but also due to the mess my child has made. You don't teach a kid anything by keeping them locked in a house until they are 5. My son knows not to scream in public and doesn't throw fits because he knows we leave and he goes to bed if he does. The feeding himself thing will get better as he becomes more coordinated. Until then it’s on the table. If you are one of the lucky ones who child is not independent and will let you feed them then count yourself blessed.

6:15 PM  
Blogger Mrs. D. said...

Just a reminder that this post is not about messy or unruly kids (we all know babies make messes) The point of discussion was is this sanitary for the child?

Also...Mr. D. looked at Taget today and they make baby plates with suction cups on the bottom and non-skid plastic baby plates... so I guess our dream of becoming millionaires thanks to Chic Fil A dirty tables is a wash.

One more thing... who knew clorox wipes don't contain bleach.. you learn something new every day!(But I agree... I still wouldn't clean a baby with a clorox wipe.)

OK... back to the discussion.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately sanitary and young kids don't often go together. You just do the best you can. You probably get more germs pushing the door open to the restaurant than they get from a wiped down table. It is simply not as easy as it would appear. I would bet a fair amount of money that my daughter would manage to pull that plate off the table even with suction cups.

6:00 AM  
Blogger Ollie said...

I don't care if it's normal. I'm a germphobe--that made me almost vomit. I won't even let my CATS eat off of a dirty surface.

6:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think it is a big deal to let a child eat off the table. I do however find it a little disturbing how in this situation they didn't do a good job of sanitation. I think their intentions were good but didn't really do any good to them. I have a feeling they may have assumed the restaurant had washed the table. I guess this is a good lesson to not assume such things. My daughter is 14 months now and I would let her eat off the table. I would want to make sure it is clean first. We go outside and sometimes if I am not fast enough all kinds of nasty things go into her mouth. She is getting better but I am sure she gets far worse from that and finding things on the floor at home tracked in.

Oh think about the kids in daycare and how they share toys and you have lots of little slobbery items going in mouths one after the other.

I totally understand being grossed out though. I think after having a couple of kids you kind of get a little numb to germs.

Anyways have always enjoyed your blog.. I used to be on TTC way back under bldnblondenmre...

Hope you get your baby you so well deserve!


10:23 AM  
Blogger Faith in Florida said...

so many anon comments!

Well I am probably not the best person to ask because I am a germophobe! I Take showers when I get home if I have to step a foot in a public restroom. And I am even worse when it comes to my kids. No, I would never consider letting my kid eat directly off a fast food table. Ewww.

But then again, I never ever use restaurant's high chairs either. Those things are laden with germs. I saw something on 20/20 once about how germy they are. And it was bad!! If I absolutley had to use one, I would take my high chair cover thingy.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

have fun being judgemental... because if you're ever on the other side, you'll find yourself eating a lot of your words!

4:04 PM  
Anonymous not anonymous said...

You kissed an effin' dolphin and you're criticizing about germs?!? At least the mom made an attempt to clean up. You'll see worse things in this life. Just wait until you see a kid reach down and eat a handful of dirt before the mom has a chance to stop it. It could be your kid. Won't it be nice to have someone staring and getting all revved up to blog about it.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Mrs. D. said...

Me again...
Man these anon comments are killing me... where did all of you come from and why are you posting anon? I can't believe how personally some of you are taking this debate... almost to the point of "well since you are not a parent how could you possible understand".

I want to say this... kids eating dirt or other disgusting things does happen... we don't have control of that... but where you you feed your child is something you as a parent have total control of... so why not protect your child from what you can? There was recently an eposode of "Myth Busters" about the "5 second rule" and eating things that were dropped on the floor... Guess what... it was VERY clear that foods (especially wet mushed up bananas) pick up a TON of bacteria when they touch a dirty surface even for mere seconds. That would also mean that if you only seconds before wiped the surface off with a clorox wipe (which I remind you the mom in the resturant DIDN'T do) that the food would also pick up the chemical residue left over from the wipe... right?

I just don't understand why people would defend not trying to protect your kids from the germs that you have control over by saying that since kids "put dirty things in their mouths all the time".

After reading some of your comments Mr. D. looked at me and said... "if kids eat dirt and it's ok then why not just feed them if the floor like pets and let them eat whatever thay want?"... Now obviously he was just kidding.. but think about it... Why not at least TRY to be sanitary when you can??? And why is it so offensive when someone points it out to you?

But then as many of you have pointed out... what do I know... I am not a parent.

OK... back to the debate.

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have two year old twins and yes, they ate off of tables at that 14 month stage. Why? Because the other choice was not to eat out. Yes, we tried plates, feeding with spoons, I even bought those cool placemats from one step ahead with the pocket in the front to catch the crumbs, etc. And guess what? Everything was often met with screaming, and always with these objects being thrown on or across the floor. Do I have control over this, as was suggested? Yes, I could stay home, or both my husband and I could each hold one loudly screaming, squirming baby annoying everyone else, only to have one of their feet kick the rest of the food off the table. So, exposure to germs versus no exposure to restaurants?

Maybe it's the multiples thing, which changes your perspective on what makes a sucessful outing, but I just can't bring myself to think it is a big deal. Then again, I am not a germaphobe. In fact, I view the whole Clorox wipe advertising campaign as, frankly, something that makes money for Clorox and does very little in terms of public health. To actually disinfect, the surface must remain wet for several minutes and then be allowed to dry. And that clean plate you pulled out of your totebag? It is now covered with the bacteria from your hand, which is covered with the bacteria from the table, the door, the stroller, the last person who leaned on the counter, the back of the chair you pulled out, etc. Yes, all of this transfer can, in theory, be minimized, but you start to see the difficulty here.

My kids seem to get sick no more than other kids, and maybe even less so. Frankly, I'll spend my time and energy reading to them, rather than trying to achieve the appearance (an it is just an appearance) of a germ-free experience. And yes, I realize that this not a one-for-one exchange here - rather, I'm suggesting that each of us prioritizes things and we can only worry about so many things at once and still stay sane. I have no doubt that self proclaimed germaphobes will make different choices than I do. And I'm sure that there are other things they will do that will make me shake my head in horror.

I think myself and other are posting anonymously because many have de facto said this is disgusting and have implied this is bad or thoughtless parenting. It is not bad or thoughtless parenting. We have thought about the germs. We just don't think the risk is large in comparison to the risk of driving to the restaurant in the first place, and sometimes we just had to get out of the house.

And, just so you know, when they were newborns, anything that even came close to hitting the floor was well washed. Things change.

8:32 PM  
Blogger Beret said...

Yes, they probably could have done a better job cleaing the chair, table, and baby's face. In the long run it's probably not going to hurt the kid really.

My daughter is 5 and I made a concerted effort to protect her from germs for the first 4 years of her life. She was home with me during the day, we didn't eat at fast food places (the food is probably worse than any of the germs are), used antibacterial wipes, soaps, etc. I prided myself that she was such a healthy kids. Guess what? When she stared preschool she was sick from September to May with NO breaks. 8 ear infections, countless colds, finally ending in a tonsil/adenoidectomy with ear tubes last month. I threw out my antibacterial stuff and I'm letting my son (age 1) build up him immunities a little more.

Do I wipe down chairs and tables at restaurants? Of course. Do I mind feeding him off the table? Not at all. Believe me, those suction-cup bowls are no match for a willful 1 year old. They don't work (a lot of the time).

We have a 5 second rule at home (where I clean my floors daily) but I don't think I'd feed my kid anything that fell on a foodcourt floor.

I think you were probably right to be grossed out, but I'm sure they were doing what they thought was best at the time. Hopefully.

Jamie, I love your blog. I'm rooting for you!

2:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am now offended about Anon- what's wrong about it?? I am reading Jamie's blog for a long time. I first discovered it back when Jamie had a "fight" with Pregnancy weekly ladies and reffered to her blog back then..I stop going to PW, but I read your blog, Jamie, all the time. I don't have a blog though- HOW CAN I POST NOT ANON? And what are you trying to say- Anon posts? What's the difference? It is web, not like people use real names anyway. I just honestly said what i thought...AND signed my name..

Oh, Jamie, on the subject "Why not try to be sanitary". Of course people are trying, I am, BUT the best way to describe it -sanitary is just one ball of all the balls you have in the air with the baby and the rest of your life. Sometimes you choose which one to drop, sometimes they drop before you choose.:) It may not be to your own standards, but it just comes with the territory. I still would never put food on the table in fast food rest though...BUT I may put my baby in high chair without wiping it ...Although, now I probably won't.:)

Julie, Baltimore MD

6:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another example of good intentions gone bad.
Either us a plate or buy the plastic throw-away mats from the One Step Ahead catalog.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a very long time reader and poster, but I'm sorry, I will post anon as well.


Because your "dicussion" was really an opinion that was written in such a way that if we disagree with you, we are disgusting slobs whose intelligence is compromised because we are not germaphobes.

My family and I are a clean, industrious people. We keep our house clean, but do not spend huge amounts of our time sanitizing every little thing. We prefer to expose our child to some germs to help them build up immunity rather than to the bleach and chemicals that are in those wipes. A previous commenter hit it right on the head when she described how the germs are EVERYWHERE and the table top was probably one of the cleaner spots the baby would touch today.

As a pet owner, you should consider what you will do when you have a baby and she is crawling right over the area where your dog just scooted his ass over the rug, shed his spring coat, slobbered while napping, or dribbled pee on the hardwood. Try to Cloxox your way out of that one!!

Maybe instead of getting defensive because you think people are ganging up on you because you are not a mom yet, look at how you worded your original post and see how defensive you made moms feel if they didn't live up to your idea of sanitary!

There are way scarier wars to win then the one at Chic Fil A!

9:17 AM  
Blogger Joie | la dilettante tricoteuse said...

Hi Jamie! Long time lurker of your blog coming out. I agree with you, that is GROSS. I know there is only so much one can do to keep babies away from germs, but what that woman did seemed completely ridiculous. I don't worry when my baby (11 months) gets a hold on my dog's chew toy and slobbers on it a bit, because that is simply BOUND to happen in my house. Yes, it is gross and I certianly do not encourage it, but we take it away from him the minute we see it happening. C'est la vie.

I do not consider myself a germaphobe, infact you won't even find clorox or lysol wipes in my house or baby bag. *However* mashing and feeding a baby/toddler (or anyone!) right from the table is disgusting and uncivilised. In my book, it's not just a matter of germs, but also etiquette. Whenever we go out, I always bring food in a container ready for him to eat, complete with his own spoon, disposable bib and SIGG bottle. Less mess, less germs. I'd rather feed him right off of my plate with my fork at a restaurant rather than off a placemat or *shudder* the table.

Hope you have a fab weekend Jamie!

11:08 AM  
Blogger Teri said...

I'm a long-time reader and a big fan of yours, but I have to agree with the last poster. I'm the mom of a 7 year old and an 18 month old (after much IF drama, of course), and I felt like there was nothing I could say in response to this post unless I agreed with it 100%, since disagreeing made me seem like a germy monster of a mom.

I'm not, by the way -- I'm fairly sanitary, I'd say. But I do put my baby into those high chairs, all the time, and I generally don't wipe them off. I feed the kid off the table, too, for all the reasons mentioned by earlier posters: thrown plates, picking one's battles, etc. I'll often wipe the table, though never with a chemical wipe, since I'm more concerned about the chemicals than the germs, LOL. I've even done the pacifier in the mouth trick a time or two -- with the older one, since the younger won't have anything to do with the binky.

And you know, whatever I'm doing, it seems to be working. My kids stay healthy 99% of the time, and when they've been sick I can always trace it to something I brought home (I teach at a college) or something they were exposed to at daycare or school. I'd like to see their immune systems strengthened, and all that wiping doesn't do much more than rearrange the germs and add some eau de Chlorox to the mix.

Some recent studies even suggest that fewer germs lead to more health problems for kids (,,

Am I a bad mom? Nope. Are my kids ok? Yep. Am I disgusting? Well, you might think so, I guess, but I don't. :)

11:35 AM  
Blogger On The Losing Side said...

Why is it anyone feels they have the right to be hateful, mean or judgmental to Jamie abou ther post. It's HER blog. If she wanted to blog about the fact the mom was unsanitary, or call the kid ugly (of course she wouldn't) or anything.. IT'S HER FREAKING BLOG. She can judge if she wants to -- which by the way, she wasn't judging. If you don't like it... Don't read it.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous B said...

Um... wow. its hot in here! I'm a mom of a two & a half year old & am obsessed with cleaning. But I'm also human. So that does not mean I catch it all, obviously. We do what we can. But Jamie, hun, what you saw was really gross to me. There are little extra mesures a praent can take/ make to keep the sweet babe a little healthier. Every child is different so whther they pull up the suction plates is an individual issue. But its also the parents issues. Children begin learning from the moment they are born, so behavior can be instilled. I'm linking some of my favorite help-keep-her-clean products. We started using these from the get-go & now its so ingrained, she asks for them.
Life is just a series of learning processes & I think its really sad that these "anon's" need to appear outta the woodwork to attack you for YOUR thoughts on YOUR blog. tsk! tsk! Seems like they're not only dirty, but mannerless, too.
and this

11:07 AM  
Blogger Faith in Florida said...


Well I don't understand why anyone would post annonymously when they are regular posters. I say if you want to say it, then own it. Please, own it.

This happens to me on my own blog.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Sweet Coalminer said...

I'm a new reader and a new poster, and as a mom to a newly self-feeding kid, I have to say that would have totally grossed me out before (like so many things), but now I understand.

My husband unknowingly wiped my baby's butt with adult hand sanitizing wipes. You just do the best you can.

Also, my 8.5-month-old can flip a suction-cup bowl in about 30 seconds. There is no suction cup in the world that could prevent a determined toddler from making a mess.

But post about what you please! I can't tell you how many times I have been grossed out by something, only to wind up doing it myself later on. :) Don't be intimidated by anonymous meanies (who can't figure out how to make a blogger display name)!

6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that the food on table is gross. I am the mom of a 2 year old and an 11 month old I never put food on the table like that. I cut it up on a plate and then feed it bite by bite. Also I always clean the tray first then the sides and then the seat. It makes sense to do it that way!! Yes my child puts tons of gross stuff in his mouth when I am not looking, but you can't help that.

Jamie - I love your blog. I used to be on PW with you. I have been reading it now for over a year. First time I posted cause I wanted to tell you that I did not feel personally attacked by what you said.


6:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mom of four here...I can tell you that babies do NOT keep food on plates, and suction plates and bowls are pretty useless. Dh and I laughed as we read these comments, because it was so apparent who has kids and who doesn't. I can say one thing, when you do have children your days of sitting quiety in a restraunt and observing/judging/nit picking what another family does will be over and watch out for that couple with no children who is watching you.

6:53 PM  

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