Today’s Guest Post is the acclaimed Kerri Sackville, who writes…..
So it didn’t surprise me when the sight of my baby swallowing mashed banana gave me one of the greatest highs of my life (yes, I’ve been a little sheltered). Sadly for me, though, the high didn’t last long, because my son, now aged ten, turned out to be a very poor eater. Actually, ‘poor’ isn’t the right term to use. You can’t be poor at something you don’t actually do.
Dinner times are the worst. I’ve tried being strict, being lenient, forcing him to sit, allowing him to roam; it makes not the slightest bit of difference. Every meal starts the same. My son sits at the table, asks ‘how many bites’ he has to eat, halves that number, halves it again, then claps his hand over his mouth after the second bite. Whether it’s frankfurts, noodles, cheese, or vegemite toast, he is full after two mouthfuls.
So I resort to the old tricks, as my mother and her mother and their ancestors no doubt did before me. I offer milk drinks at bedtime. I hide bits of meat in his mashed potato. I shove chunks of banana into his mouth when he’s not paying attention. I find packaged foods with movie characters on the wrappers and trick him into thinking they’re really exciting (okay, so maybe my mum’s ancestors didn’t do that one).
But there’s bit of a complication.
You see, I also have other kids, including an eight year old girl. And my divine, cherubic daughter eats everything that is not nailed down. The food that I offer to my son barely makes it past my hands before it is hijacked on the way to his mouth. No sooner has my son said ‘No thank you Mum’ than my daughter has gleefully shouted ‘I’ll have it!’
She eats anything, and she eats at any time. She asks for tuna after breakfast. She asks for chips after lunch. She asks for cheese and crackers as I’m tucking her into bed (she’s nothing if not sophisticated).
So you can see my predicament. I have one child who will happily exist on air, and another who will eat herself into a coma if not controlled. How do I get my son to eat more whilst simultaneously restraining my daughter from becoming a beach ball? How do I encourage him to eat another pea, whilst discouraging her from eating another pie? In other words, how do I satisfy my primitive urge to feed without fear of actually fattening?
The answer is: I can’t. I have to make a choice. I can give in to the fear, suppress my desire to feed, and live forever more with a gnawing sense of a mother’s work unfulfilled. Or, I can free my Jewish soul, feed to my heart’s content, and let the brisket, roast chicken, and cream cheese bagels take their course.
So get ready honey. There’s a pie in the oven!