food

The secret to why your kids won't eat. Solved.

The answer every mum has been desperately searching for.

You’d have thought I was asking him to dive naked into a pool of man-eating sharks. With shark bait tied to his wrist.

You’d have thought I had served him a plate of mashed worms.

The screams. The tears. The fists beating the table in horror.

A chair was kicked.

And my crime – was serving ice cream.

ICE-CREAM FOR F**K’S SAKE.

“I can’t eat that,” he bellowed down our quiet cul-de-sac.

I am sure one of the neighbours noted it in her book she keeps on the antics of those children from the corner.

“It’s touching.”

It was Neapolitan ice cream you see, the type with three delicious stripes of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate.

Creamy, sweet, delicious.

Neapolitan ice cream

I had been extra careful. No ice cream with bits in it. Nothing with topping, nothing with chunks of fruit.

I thought I had nailed it.

What I didn’t see was the tiny stripe of vanilla that had stuck to the chocolate.

“The white is touching the brown,” he wailed.

There was no rescuing this situation. The bowl was pushed away in disgust. The tantrum began.

My peaceful glass of wine I was looking forward to while they quietly ate ice cream, a dim fantasy.

That’s why I can totally relate to the author of New York Times best selling book Go The F*ck to Sleep Adam Mansbach who has just released a sequel. “You have to f*cking eat”.

Mansbach told Mashable that he wrote it because eating is such a fundamental thing. He called it, “one of life's great joys, in fact.”

He said that there's a “particular frustration that comes with not being able to get your kid to eat. Trying to get a kid to put on her shoes might be crazy-making, but it's not quite the same as having her reject the basic concept of sustenance. It seemed to me like a universal experience, and one that parents would welcome the chance to commune over and laugh about."

Laugh Adam?

I’ve laughed.

I’ve screamed.

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I’ve cried.

I’ve given up and then I’ve risen to fight the fight again.

My delightful, affectionate, creative five-year-old has more food hangs ups than a teenage girl.

He eats eggs, lasagna, bananas with no black bits or string (but not the ends), peeled apples, plain butter toast (but must be barely toasted), cooked carrots with no skin, bread (any variety luckily) and tomato sauce.

And that’s about it.

I’ve tried various contradictory methods to get him to eat more.

I’ve tried bribery. I’ve tried sticker charts. I’ve tried the naughty steps.

I’ve tried letting him go hungry and letting him just eat what he wants.

I once even let him cook. (Disaster.)

No matter what I’ve tried nothing has been successful.

I can’t really be too critical though, my own mother told me that for nearly a year, all I would eat was crumbled veal and fried potatoes.

That must have been fun for her.

Imagine crumbing veal endlessly for 12 months.

“You have to f*cking eat,” must have danced across her mind at least once a day.

It is totally exasperating isn’t it? And you can’t quite believe that they just won’t give up these bizarre eccentricities. How can a five-year-old refuse to eat ice cream? It is one of the world’s delights. How can you not want to try mangos or cheesecake or mouth-watering hamburgers? How can you be so stubborn?

He just sits there if he doesn’t like it, and sits there and sits and SITS THERE.

It is almost like Adam Mansbach’s book is written just for him.

“The sunrise is golden and lovely

The birds, chirp and twitter and tweep

You woke me and asked for some breakfast

So why the fuck won’t you eat”

These days I am in the let-it-slide phase.

Spaghetti Bolognese for the other kids, scrambled eggs for him and if he is lucky a piece of soft buttered toast. But not touching. I’ve learnt that lesson the hard way.

Do you have any picky eaters in your family?

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