Every Friday, I look forward to seeing pictures of Alex and Emma in playschool throughout the week. Their school has a page and we get to see parts of their day that we would never normally be privy to. So there I am, smiling and being the proud mum that I always am and that is when I see the offending picture. Alex eating a (this is the point where I would add fucking if I was telling you this face to face – but I have been told to rein it in, so I am trying to behave myself!) salad. I have been working long hours this week and I haven’t picked A&E up from school, but I vaguely remember a conversation with Michael about salad and someone not eating it (I thought it was Alex, turns out it was Emma).
My head is about to explode (for reasons I will explain next) when I call Alex over to show him the picture.
Me: “Alex, baby. Come here and look at these pictures from school”
Alex: *pointing out Emma, his teacher and his friends*
Me: “What is that you are eating?”
Alex: “Salad mummy. It was so good. I loved the green bits and the red bits and the orange bits (raw *fucking* carrot!!!!)
Me: *mouth wide open. Completely and utterly speechless* (it doesn’t happen often, so I made a note).
You see the reason that this is such a giant problem for me is that Alex will not eat anything at home for me. He will eat the usual pizza, chicken nuggets, chips etc. But anytime I cook anything else he refuses to eat it. I never cook a separate meal for him but do end up giving him a turnaround (peanut butter sandwich folded in half) if he is hungry before bed. Mum made him chicken chasseur last week and he clamped his mouth shut and refused to let even a single spoon passed his lips. In fact, he even told her it was disgusting. The fact that he is eating everything that is given to him in school is frustrating. His very lovely teacher has told me that he will have seconds and thirds of whatever they have for lunch – every day!
When we started weaning him, he ate everything and anything. Chicken chasseur was his favourite. I never had to worry about making dinners for him as he would eat with us. And then around the time he turned 18 months old he stopped eating everything. It was absolutely soul-destroying. I couldn’t figure out why he wouldn’t eat for me. I tried everything (including hiding mince inside pasta shells – because with a 4 week old feeding around the clock and an 18 month old who was struggling to adjust to the new baby, I appeared to have plenty of time on my hands). Of course he ate the mince filled pasta shells and loved every single bite.
It was after the meat stuffed, pasta shell incident, that I stopped struggling with him to eat. It was obvious that he liked the food but he just did not want to eat it. And at the end of the day that has to be okay too. His life changed very suddenly by gaining a sister and I think he just wanted to assert his own control over his body and his choices. He loves fruit and would eat it all day long. He loves wheetabix for breakfast and will eat relatively well at lunchtime. It is just meals we struggle with.
Sometime before christmas I made a Jamie Oliver Tikka Masala from scratch. It was absolutely amazing. Alex asked me what I was cooking and I showed it to him. He seemed interested so I managed to convince him to taste it, and he absolutely loved it. In fact, if I recall correctly, he had a second portion of it. He eats really well in school every day. All their food is homemade and always smells so delicious. So I know he is eating relatively well most of the day. But as it is with being a mum these days, you always feel like you are doing something wrong and that there is more that you could be doing. Mommy guilt is an absolute bitch. Why do we always feel like our best just isn’t good enough?
I woiuld love to hear your stories about how you get your kids to eat in situations like this. And please tell me that I am not the only lunatic mother who has stuffed mince into pasta in the hope of getting their children to eat it!!