Meal times when you have toddlers and babies are a funny thing aren’t they? They are no longer the relaxing experience you’re used to before you decided to have a family. Although you become slightly more prepared when you’re pregnant and after two bites of a meal no longer fancy it and have to go through the embarrassment of either making your other half eat it for you, or dealing with a concerned looking waiter…after all, you’re pregnant therefore you should eat like a horse shouldn’t you?!
These days it’s all change. Right now we’re probably in my least enjoyable phase of family meal times I’ve ever had. Before it as ok – as a baby and toddler Theo ate quite well (although rarely at Nan & Granddads’ due to the adoring audience and knowledge that he’ll get away with it to avoid a scene – this has since changed and he will now be sent to the hall). I’m not saying he was perfect (at all), but having been very strict with him from day one of the weaning process we generally had a child who sat at the table until we finished, ate what was put in front of him, fed himself by the age of one (CLEANLY) etc…except that one phase where when he’d had enough he’d push his plate across the table and it would often go spinning across the room and land on the floor. Or the phase where he wouldn’t eat finger food. Oh.
Then Larry came along. Gorgeous fat, attention grabbing little
(big) brother Larry. Suddenly he didn’t eat his dinner anymore. I was prepared for this – I’d read the books and the forums, and I ignored it, and soon he realised no dinner no pudding. Bish Bash Bosh. Then we started weaning Fatso. No problems with that (well, you didn’t expect there to be did you – he laps everything up). However mealtimes are now timed almost to the minute as Fatty is on an alarm clock run by food (11.50am – fine and happy, 11.55am – a bit clingy – 12.00pm – WHERE THE CHUFF IS MY FOOD?! kind of thing), therefore, no longer can we wander around a town looking in the window deciding where to eat at the last minute, we have to have a good idea and then when you hear the war cry it’s GO GO GO. If we’re having to wait a bit for the food to come, it’s often helpful to be next to a table where somebody takes pity on the wasting away baby as he Paddington Bear stares them out until they get nervous and give him a chip (true story). As far as the beast goes, as long as there’s a last resort of a Burger on the menu and a glass of water in a “big boys
glass” we’re ok. He probably won’t eat it anyway.
Whatever happens, no matter where we decide to eat and what I decide to serve up/order I usually get a handpicked selection of at least 3 of the below every mealtime.
From Theodore (you can tell I’m grumpy, I’ve used his big name)
- All food must be served on a “big boy”
plate (one of our side plate), and he must have an adult knife and fork. We
can’t even get away with the small adult replica cutlery that you can buy. No.
He needs a fork that appears to be longer than his arm.
- All Cereal must be eaten with a soup spoon
- “I don’t LYYYKEEEE that” before it’s even been placed in front of him, and then repeated randomly throughout the meal between mouthfuls.
- “I’m TOO BUSY” to eat my dinner
- “IN A MINIT MUMMY – be patient”
- “I’M TOO TIREEEDDD” to eat my dinner
- “I’m all full up to eat my dinner – I’ll have pudding now”
- “YESPLEASE Get down from the table
MUMMAY” (polite, but not when he’s got a tomato in one hand and a grated
cheese sandwich in the other).
- Slipping down in the chair so he’s under the table – it’s the cushions fault dontcha know.
- “OOOH I NEED A WEE” (“come with me”)
- “OOOHH I NEED A POOH” (“come and watch me”)
- General shouting until the bowl is brought to the table
- If I let him hold the bowl it goes on his head
- Alternating Spoons. He’d never just “hold” a spoon while I fed him, or if he did it was only for a very brief moment in time. I’ve tried loading the spoon and handing it to him, but this is refused. He wants to SCOOP. So now I either have to hold his hand while he scoops, or let him do it himself. You know me enough by now to know my nerves can’t stand that. I’m envious and in awe of anybody who knows where to begin clearing that car crash up!
- When I give him a sandwich he refuses to eat it until Theo is sitting and eating his sandwich. While he’s waiting for that to happen it just gets shouted at.
- When he’s had enough of his food he’ll pick it up and drop it on the floor
- He has to have a different coloured spoon and a look in the bowl when it’s pudding time because he doesn’t trust me not to trick him.
Sounds fun doesn’t it? It’s not AWFUL actually, I always quite enjoy breakfast (as long as I have my slippers on as I hate weetabix between my toes), however I am looking forward to not having a blob of jam land in my cup of tea, not having to cut up my meal first and eat with just my fork or avoid a blueberry being sneezed into my hair. I’m hopping one day that I can eat a meal again without having to have it done FAST and whilst not having to field grabby hands away from my glass of wine. I’m also looking forward to being able to wear a white t.shirt. When does that
Right. We’re going out for Sunday lunch. Yay.