Messy kids can use cloth napkins!
Imagine a cliffside restaurant on the Amalfi coast. It’s a perfect evening and the water sparkles in the sunset. You take a bite your exquisite meal, wipe your mouth with a crisp, cloth napkin and sip your chilled rosé.
This is a meal I dream of.
This is not a meal with children.
Let’s come down from our (or just my?) Italian fantasy to reality: meals with children are not romantic, relaxing or easy. Sometimes meals with children aren’t even enjoyable. And despite all that realness, it’s still possible to replace paper napkins with cloth ones for meals with children.
My child once spilled an entire cup of water into a bowl of soup that he then knocked into his lap, it was a disaster. We both cried. For this catastrophic mess (and it very much was) we used Good Towels and Daily Napkins to clean up. But for the normal ketchup splorch or pasta sauce glorb, Daily Napkins do the job. Our cloth napkins are designed to camouflage inevitable stains, and are built to be washed 100s of times without fading. They are pretty much childproof.
Outside of the super-functional reasons cloth napkins work for meals with children, they also add a little something special to dinner. Is it possible to add ambience to lukewarm chicken nuggies with a side of just-a-bite-of-veggies-please? YES - now it's an A+ meal. What about a half-eaten meatball and pasta plate with far too much Parmesan? Transformed - a tiny, lovely moment.
Let me be clear, cloth napkins won't transport you to Positano, but they'll get you somewhere past a Tuesday night at Applebee's - and that is really all we can hope for when eating meals with children.