I first noticed it early on; I practically live on Nature Valley gluten-free nut bars, and those things make a mess. It is nearly impossible to eat one cleanly. The best I've been able to do is to shear off one end of the wrapper with scissors, and upend it into my mouth as though I were drinking the thing. Still, when I look down, my poor boy is covered with the detritus from my nibblings: sugary crystals in his hair, on this face, down his back. I think, if he were allergic to nuts, we'd have found out by now.
Sometimes his nap ends up spanning a mealtime, and my "station" on the couch turns into a full-service restaurant. Since I have become the baby's bed, my husband fixes gourmet meals and waits on me, usually having to pre-cut my meats and long vegetables, or make sandwiches easier to handle. Salads with unusual greens are tricky - I end up having to slurp long fronds like pasta, if I can't get them into my mouth at once.
It doesn't help that gluten-free foods are notoriously crumbly. A bagel or toasted bread eaten above him makes it look like I'm trying to feed the birds by sprinkling him with their offerings. I learned long ago never to eat hot foods while I'm holding him (shudder to think). Anything non-finger-food - rice, meats, side dishes, etc. - is best eaten with a tablespoon to minimize spillage, especially when I need to eat with my non-dominant hand. (Note if you're reading this, and don't have kids: All parents holding babies only get one hand with which to eat.)
The best I can do, when he's asleep on me during mealtimes, is have one napkin for me, and another for the baby. I spread it over him like a blanket, and it catches most of my cast-offs. This is especially funny if it's a paper towel. A piece of lettuce in dressing will fall off my spoon, or fish flakes, or a grilled onion, and stick itself to his temporary blankie. This is always followed by my husband and I, in unison, chorusing, "Poor little Bib." By the end of the meal, I see just what I would have had to wash out of his clothes, or neck, or hair, or had to have the dog lick off of him. It's quite a sight.
I need to get a photo of this sometime for potential Prom Date embarrassment; but as his given name pairs well with the word, "messy," perhaps I won't. I don't want him to earn an undeserved nickname over something I've done. Soon he won't be doing this anymore, though. Perhaps I'll just leave it as a funny memory for his father and I, from the days that he was small enough, and wanted to, fall asleep in my lap.