Placemats are not compulsory

“Please don’t take away your placemat Jerry.” I say.

“Why, Tita Mel?”

“Well it stops a big mess on the table”

“But I don’t make a mess anymore Tita Mel”

“Jerry look, everyone else in the restaurant is using a placemat”

We look around and everyone has placemats.

“What about him Tita Mel?”

Jerry points to the man closest to us and yes, he is the only one in the restaurant with no placemat. Boom! I decide then and there to blog it. That was yesterday.

When Jerry asked me last year if he could live in my house, I immediately said no. How could a single girl in her mid (or dare I say it … eek … late 40s) become a parent for the first time? Reluctantly? Slowly? Jerry won of course, proven today when he arrived home clutching his first school ID card with my name and phone number printed on the back. So I guess I am officially a parent. Sometimes when I think I am getting better at it, a day like yesterday will happen. Ok back to the restaurant scene.

So deciding I’m definitely going to blog my parenting ineptness I push my plate and placemat out of the way and begin free-writing in my notebook. Notes about Jerry and how much he has changed my life. About how I have been procrastinating for ages about telling the story of Jerry in full on the blog. About how It’s an inspiring story,  a sad yet often very funny story.

I’m scribbling stuff about how much easier it is taking him to the city. Laughing that he no longer spits out his motion sickness tablets only to spend the entire four hour trip vomiting into my handbag; or he doesn’t try to open the door of every moving taxi; or he doesn’t throw his fork and spoon onto the restaurant floor then try to eat his lunch directly from the plate like a dog; or he no longer runs away in shopping malls then laughs at me from the top of an escalator while I am at the bottom, then when I reach the top, laughs at me from the bottom.

Yes I am writing all this down in my little red notebook when I see Jerry making a paper-hat with his placemat. I feel completely ridiculous for scolding him. Lunch arrives and I smile in delight as Jerry (without being asked) unfolds his paper-hat and neatly puts his placemat back under his plate while I serve up our rice and cut his chicken BBQ.

Meal totally delicious, not much left on our plates and Jerry proudly shows me his place setting: not even one grain of rice spilled. Totally proud of him. Suddenly he yells …


Yep, (did you guess) I forgot to put back my placemat and spilled rice everywhere.

PARENTFAIL. Jerry glows in triumph.

That was yesterday, we are back home in Estancia now: I am blogging, Jerry is asleep and close-by is a little glass of water containing the tooth he lost this afternoon. Jerry has truly changed me and made me a better person. I’d love to share our story with you and maybe (in the telling) I’ll even learn that placemats in restaurants aren’t compulsory and that actually they make excellent toys.

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One response to “Placemats are not compulsory”

  1. mel irvine Avatar

    Reblogged this on my adopted kid and commented:

    Learning to be a parent has been a great challenge for me, but Jerry truly is making me a better person. #parenting #parentfail #findingjerry