I love food. Seriously, I love food almost as much as I love gin and Christmas. Many an evening has been spent with my sister-in-law talking about pretty much nothing but food; the best meals we’ve had, the meals we want, the restaurants we like, then we eat crisps just to get over the self-inflicted hunger of having spent 4 hours talking about food. You get the picture.
Bear, it seems, is not as much of a fan.
I’ll happily admit that weaning has been a far from enjoyable experience for us. But it has taken me the last fortnight to realise that Bear is, in fact, on a very strict diet. I should have realised – I should have noticed the signs (I would say pattern, but there is no pattern – it’s just a guessing game). Here are Bear’s diet rules – something I can reference next time she’s having meltdowns over meals, and something you can try and fathom if you fancy the challenge.
1) You know when people say “if she’s hungry, she’ll eat”? Yeah, well this isn’t always true. Sometimes I am starving but I don’t want to eat in the dining room in my highchair – sometimes I want to eat while stood in front of the TV, rocking back and forth to the Curious George theme tune. Then I am hungry.
2) I love homemade chilli con carne. It is my very favourite meal. Apart from on a Wednesday or a Monday. You may as well not bother on those days – I will take great offence. Every other day I will eat it at the speed of light.
3) Yoghurts. Lovely yoghurts. I get excited when you get them out the fridge, but some days I just want to see you peel the lid off. Yes, I will point at the yoghurt but no, I don’t want to eat it. On other days I would like 2 yoghurts, please.
4) Some days I like to chew on baby wipes, just because.
5) Every other day it is perfectly acceptable to cry for my dinner while you hyperventilate trying to cool it down. Doesn’t mean I will eat the meal, though.
6) Some days I will flail myself around in my highchair like a demented salmon out of water. If you could make my food cool down a bit quicker then I wouldn’t have to play up quite so dramatically, just so you know…
7) I love blueberries. Apart from when I love strawberries and grapes. Then I will cherry pick the blueberries one by one, crush them in my hand then throw the mush overboard onto the floor.
8) Toast with Marmite. I appreciate your efforts (especially Mummy’s because I know she has an irrational fear of the stuff). But for the record I will only ever eat this when I am at Nanny’s, Grandma’s or Aunty Jane’s. Occasionally I will eat it for Daddy, but never for Mummy.
9) You know those meals where I try something new and love it? Like a cream cracker, or a crumpet, or peanut butter on toast? I see your delight, and I enjoy our trip to the shops to buy a whole pack of cream crackers, crumpets and a jar of peanut butter. I won’t eat them again though. I don’t think I’ll like them next time. It was just a phase…
10) Whenever you are eating, I am ravenous. Even if I have my own food in front of me, other people’s food always looks better (yes, even if we’re eating the same thing). I want what you’re eating.
11) I see you slicing up a banana and presenting it to me on a plate for a snack. Are you crazy? You need to hand me each slice of banana one by one, not expect me to pick the pieces off the plate, then I will eat it. Apart from at the weekends. At weekends bananas can jog on.
12) I love my breakfast. I also love your breakfast. Be prepared to give me half of yours (you’re not having any of mine though. That’s just the rules).
13) Long lunches are fun, but don’t assume I will eat any more just because I am in my highchair for twice as long. I am not hungry at lunchtimes (apart from the lunchtimes when I am hungry), and until you get me out of the highchair I don’t find my appetite. When I do find it, it’s usually in crumb format on the floor. Then I am hungry….mmmm crumbs.
14) I will always be better behaved when we eat out in restaurants. I mean, it’s a restaurant isn’t it? You’ve got to behave in a restaurant. I’ve heard you talking about going for dinner just the 3 of us. I can also sense your reluctance, especially because of the aforementioned flailing demented salmon in 6 above. Who knows what will happen until we go….we should go though, I dare you…
I think that just about covers it. Certainly keeps us on our toes, and keeps Hendricks and Strongbow in business. I am sure everyone goes through the fussy phase at least a million times before a child is 18, and then they go off to uni and fend for themselves on a diet of takeaway pizza and late night kebabs. It’s tough though, and it’s damn frustrating because I swore I wouldn’t get obsessed by food and here I am, obsessed by food.
Right I’m off to prepare lunch. Today’s menu includes Dairylea on cream crackers, broken into small pieces and scattered on the dining room floor, with a side of squished blueberries that I can clean up later. Wish me luck…