2 Apr 2010
In which I contemplate the feeding of children.....
I have caved in and phoned round for a little friend to come and play with my son.
This is not without some trepidation on my part as it means, at some stage over the day, that I will need to Feed Him.
This nervousness around feeding children dates back to the first small boy that came round to play after school.
Let’s call him T.
When T arrived, he shunned all offers of liquid intake. As my son gulped down a long glass of diluting juice, this child refused everything: tap water, fizzy water, diluting juice, fruit juice, j2o….even lemonade.
As a result, I eyed the approaching teatime with mounting dread and panic. What kind of child can go all day at school without a drink?
‘What would you like to eat, T?’ I enquired – all Hestia loveliness and serenity. ‘You can choose from fish fingers, meatballs, pizza or scrambled egg on toast.’
After what seemed like an interminable wait, T announced that he would have the scrambled eggs.
Brilliant. I can scramble an egg with the best of them.
I quickly sorted out the eggs and made sure not to burn the toast…and presented the plates to both boys. My son got wolfed in.
T gazed balefully at the plate. ‘How did you cook these?’ he asked politely. ‘In the microwave or on the cooker?’
‘On the cooker….Is that a problem T?’
‘Well, I only eat microwaved eggs, y’see,’ he answered helpfully.
I removed the plate and returned to the kitchen.
I dutifully microwaved a jug of scrambled egg mixture and blobbed it on on top of an freshly buttered, immaculately toasted bit of bread.
I returned to the boys with the fresh plateful and presented it to T.
No move was made to lift cutlery.
‘There seems to be some water coming out of the eggs,’ he pointed out.
‘Why, yes, how observant of you, T! Sometimes you do get a little of the excess liquid comes out……is that a problem?’
‘Can’t eat that. Sorry.’
Even though my heart was sinking into my chest, it was being buoyed up again by a sail of anger so exquisitely SCARLET and SWEAR-FILLED, that I thought it pertinant to swiftly remove the plate and return again to the kitchen.
Amidst a dark cloud of invective and a tirade of profanity (look, I don't mind trying to be a Domestic Goddess, but I'm most definitely not a fucking Saint) the eggs were scraped onto kitchen roll and the offending moisture removed. Then they were scraped back onto the toast.
I returned to the boys. By this time, my son had slunk off to sit much further away from the table. He is familar with my wild-eyed but smiling look.
I plonked the plate down and stood with my arms folded.
‘Are you going to eat that, T?’ I asked, my voice sounding a lot higher than it usually does.
He at least had the good grace to shift nervously from one buttock to the other. ‘Is that butter on the toast or spread?’ he asked.
I leaned in close. ‘Which answer will get you to eat this food?’ I smiled. But it was the brittle smile of a woman on the edge of stuffing a plate of food down a small boy’s trousers.
I shall draw a veil over what happened next, but it involved him refusing to eat the eggs or toast and me refusing point blank to cook anything else and retiring to the kitchen with a large glass of red wine.
When his grandpa turned up to collect him home, I explained that he would need food and drink when he got home. ‘Aye,’ said his grampa aimiably, ‘he’s a fussy wee buggger and won’t eat or drink unless he’s in his own home’…….
Cut to today. This small visitor is older, but no less fussy. When I asked him what he might like for dinner this evening, he thought about it for a moment and then ventured his considered reply.
I know that we are supposed to feed them organic food and hand picked vegetables, but my GOD, what I wouldn’t give for a wean to visit, JUST ONCE, that liked a Turkey Twizzler.
Image: from Lady Talks A Lot's blog. Not sure of original source ;-(
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