Avoiding ‘Dinosaur Arms’ – The Right Way

Kid dinosaur arms at dinner table
My son, Ben, demonstrates “dinosaur arms” — his cup is too close to the edge of the table.

Do it Right: Kids’ Proper Cup Placement

Sometimes it’s hard for me to imagine that I’m actually a grownup.

I mean, I can look at my feet and they don’t seem like big, dumb, toy-stompers. The watch on my wrist doesn’t appear to my eyes to be the 45-mm, monster dive watch that it looks like on other guys’ arms. I appear to myself — at least when I’m not gaping, dead-on in a mirror at my graying goatee and thinning hair — to be the same as I’ve always been, from closeup.

And my mentality can strike me the same way. Being an older brother, and a practiced one with three younger brothers at that, my silly head still conjures up sing-song rhymes about my own boys, my wife, the dog, the cat. My fingers tend to tickle and tousle heads. I latch on to the puns my kids are slinging.

“I’m full,” someone of the under-40 persuasion will usually announce as we adults are barely halfway into a meal.

“I’m Dad,” I’ll dutifully reply. “Nice to meet you, Full.”

Cue the groans.

And so, deluded as I may get, my essential Dadhood usually ends up coming out. Mealtime is an inevitable setting for it, as I unleash an avalanche of reminders:

“Sit in front of your plate.”

“Eat over your plate.”

“Chew with your mouth closed.”

“Finish your milk.”

“Fingers out of your hair when eating!”

And:

“Hey…, hey…, HEY! Napkin!”

But I like to think my solution for my sons setting their cups at the absolute edge of the table — and suffering the inevitable bumps and spills — was at least inspired by the manic kid I used to be.

By now, they’ve learned it well: NO DINOSAUR ARMS!

Let me explain what I mean.

Kids' cup too close to edge of dinner table
My son, Jonah, demonstrates improper cup placement at the edge of the table — a sure recipe for DINOSAUR ARMS!

 

Ensuring Proper Cup Placement

You see, the poor Tyrannosaurus Rex can’t help but be frustrated at dinner. He tends to be so much taller than the table, and his tiny, feeble little arms can’t really reach his utensils or cup, let alone his plate.

A Tyrannosaur might have a reason to keep his cup so close to his body, so his little arms can reach.

But mostly, he’d probably just be content to stand up and eat the table, chairs, plates and occupants. BURP!

We, on the other hand, are not Tyrannosaurs.

We were gifted by evolution (or God, or both) with long, flexible arms that can reach our silverware, and our plates and, by gosh, our cups. And those same handy elbows can end up wreaking their own Tyrannosaur-like havoc if things end up too close to them.

So, let’s show how human we are. Let’s move our cups to the tops our plates and practice reeeeeeeeaaaaaaching over with our awesome human arms to pick them up and bring them to our mouths to drink, then placing them back when we’re done.

Unless we’re careless and end up acting like Tyrannosaurs with their DINOSAUR ARMS. Then we might inadvertently make T-Rexes feel welcome at our table. And we know what happens next….

DINOSAUR ARMS!!!!

The kids get it and that’s inevitably what we end up calling out to each other when we catch a cup that’s too close to the edge of the table and our bodies (and wayward elbows). DINOSAUR ARMS is enough to get cups sliding, safely, out of reach.

Somewhere, the kid in me could probably dig that.

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