Two Plates, Revisited

Back in February of 2014, I posted Two Plates, a scientific investigation into the culinary cleanliness of Griffin and Maggie. CliffsNotes: Griffin made a gargantuan mess, but Maggie didn’t.

One of the hypotheses of this experiment wasn’t testable until today:

1. Developmental stages. When Maggie is four, she will be just as messy. Was Griffin more fastidious when he was one? Memories are fuzzy and unreliable, but I don’t think so. We can test this in a few years with another set of pictures. (Strawberry shortcake for breakfast, February 15, 2017!)

Admittedly, I technically blew the experiment by serving strawberry shortcake a day early this year (I’m not sure why we had our Valentine’s Day breakfast on the 15th in 2014). But in the spirit of our anti-science (post-science?) times, I present our results anyway.

Exhibit One

February 14, 2017 photo of Maggie’s place setting after her breakfast. Maggie is four years, nine months old.

Maggie’s plate. Maggie is nearly five years old (four and nine months).

Exhibit Two

February 14, 2017 photo of Griffin’s place setting after his breakfast. Griffin is seven years, ten months old.

Griffin’s plate. Griffin is nearly eight years old (seven years, ten months).


The developmental hypothesis does not appear to hold. Maggie still has the cleaner area, though Griffin’s kept most of his detritus on his plate. (He also ate more, and with more enthusiasm, than she did.) But, clearly, mega-messes are not hardwired into four-year-olds.

I should add, too, that while Griffin still tends to be the messier eater, he is far better at keeping other areas of the house clean. At cleanup time, Maggie suffers from chronic debilitating attacks of exhaustion. Griffin, by contrast, will often tackle cleanup without being asked, rarely complains when we request a cleaning, and is developing a good sense of judgment about what will pass parental inspection.