I've been meaning to write about this for awhile... you see, Lee and I are brand, spanking new parents... we have very little prior experience with teaching younger people manners or etiquette or cleanliness or... or... or... plus I forget things now.
1. I never thought it was a big deal that our kids eat with their hands all the time. It makes sense that they would, since they ate that way in Ethiopia. I heard another parent say something about THEIR kids enjoying Ethiopian food because they could eat with their hands for once. "Oopsie," I thought, "should I be doing something to make them eat with utensils?" I decided (and Lee agrees by default, because he has never said anything about it) that I DON'T CARE if they eat with their hands. They eat with utensils when the need arises... soup... spaghetti... meat to be cut.
2. We made a conscious effort NOT to nit pick at the children about spilling food on themselves. OK, I guess we were too tired at first to nit pick, because "please, just eat SOMETHING!" They have learned in the last 3 months, all by themselves, that they should eat OVER their plates, that spilling water is NO BIG DEAL (except to Lee), and that fooling around with food will almost ALWAYS result in tragedy for your favorite white shirt. Yordanos, however, is unfazed by stained clothing. She has a favorite shirt that has chocolate ice cream stains on the SHOULDER. That was from the day that she got that same ice cream in one of her hair puffs. Good times... :)
3. I have only recently begun insisting that the children wash their hands before meals. I know, I know... but they have not been sick yet, so you be the judge. I finally got tired of the sticky hands when we prayed.