How to Eat off Your Children's Plates

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Like burying beetles and blowflies, parents are natural scavengers. We have no time or energy to make our own decent meals so we scavenge for what we can, where we can, defying the laws of grossness to which non-parents adhere. (And sometimes we even find some tasty morsels.)

I've identified a hierarchy of small children's table scraps, to help parents decide where to draw the line between edible and trash-worthy. Here they are, from the ideal scenario to the bottom of the barrel:

Dan's Hierarchy of Kids' Table Scraps

1. On the plate, untouched. 

2. On the plate, mushed around with hands. 

3. Picked up and dropped on the floor. 

4. Put in the mouth and returned to the plate. 

5. Put in the mouth and dropped on the floor by accident. 

6. Put in the mouth and dropped on the floor on purpose.*

*If the food was put on the floor intentionally, there was likely velocity involved. The food was probably hurled, which means it was hand-smooshed before being thrown. That's why this is the worst — the food has been degraded by the mouth, hands, and floor.

I'll be taking your questions on how to make mealtime happier in a Google+ Hangout with The Longest Shortest Time. You can submit questions ahead of time here.