Do You Clean Up After Your Toddler in a Restaurant?

Julie Ryan Evans

Messy girl
Photo by CristinJoy
Somehow, my daughter is the messiest eater in the world. I can't tell you how many times a day I sweep, mop, Swiffer, and pick up things from the floor under her high chair.

She doesn't up her etiquette much when we're in a restaurant either. In fact, it often feels like she makes a bigger mess when we're in one.

I try to stay on top of the foods she's dropping (both by accident and not-so-accident) and the liquids she's spilling. Sometimes I'm better at it than others, but never is there not a mess of some kind.

So when it's time to leave, what do I do? Is it my responsibility to crawl around on the floor and pick up wayward peas and crushed cracker crumbs? Do I have to wipe down (or hose down) the entire high chair? Or is it OK to leave it for the restaurant staff?  

I feel like it's rude to just leave it as is, especially when it's a larger-than-usual mess, but I'm also not going to ask for a broom and Windex.

My husband tells me to just leave it, that we're paying for the service -- and I love the times when a server comes along as I'm straightening up and tells me he'll get it (phew, guilt be gone).

But other times I rush out, leaving the mess in our wake, and I feel awful ... and scared to go back to that particular establishment for fear of what they'll do to my food if they recognize us.

So tell me, how much cleaning up after your toddler do you do in a restaurant? Do you leave it spotless or are a few lingering crumbs OK?

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