I grew up surrounded by women. I’m the middle of two sisters. My mother’s only sibling is a sister. My maternal grandmother was widowed very young and often visited us accompanied by her two female cousins, whom we called “Aunties” because the three of them were raised like sisters. Even our pets were always female. So I had much to learn when I was blessed with two boys.
I’m always fascinated/frustrated by what seems to be their nature, despite my attempts at nurturing them otherwise. Prime example: their use (or lack of use) of napkins.
I set them on the table for every meal. I remind them to place them in their laps. I’ve even been known to tuck them in their collars like bibs, but their inclination is always to wipe their mouth on their shirt and their hands on their pants.
While I’m not giving up on teaching them otherwise, I am giving up on paper napkins. Although the chances of their getting used are slim to none, I still throw them away after each meal. Not only is that a waste of money, but it’s an unnecessary addition to the non-recyclables we throw out every week.
So, I took my frustration with all that waste and paired it with my quandary over what to do with an old flannel duvet cover that’s too tattered to use, but still has too much life in it to throw away, and I decided to make cloth napkins. Yes, I know flannel isn’t the first fabric you think of when you think of cloth napkins, but it’s ideal for this project because:
1. If I screw this up, I haven’t wasted a dime; plus the duvet cover is huge, so I have lots to play with while I perfect my pattern.
2. The fabric has been washed and used a million times, so it feels more like clothing than any of the cotton or linen napkins. So maybe, just maybe, my little monkeys will mistake it for their pant leg or shirt sleeve and actually use it!
Next up: play clothes made from old curtains :)