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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Children and Mealtimes

Afternoon tea-ing with a friend today, in typical Mums of preschoolers and young children fashion, our chat turned to meal times. And frustration.

"I just wish," I said, "that I had read somewhere that it would take about seven years for them to eat properly." And my friend nodded in hearty agreement.

Our children started out so well. First foods painstakingly introduced at the 6 month mark. Ground rice, then a gentle progression to more real foods. Mashed avocado, pureed apple, and soupy well-blended mince. All in dinky little cubes in the freezer. Gradually several cubes joined together to make an almost meal, and et voila! Happy, hearty eating, and jolly, pleasingly rounded babes.

All going well then.

Until 18 months. Then appetite dwindled away. And interest began to depart. Slowly but surely, happy hearty consumers transformed into picky, particular fusspots.

How's Mum now then? Still feeling OK. Still managing to hold it together.It's a phase after all. They'll grow back into being a happy, hearty consumer.

But not this year.

Or the year after.

Or even the year after.

How about a phase that lasts till, oh, they are about 7?

Now that's quite a phase! Quite a lot of pasta can be consumed in that time. Oh, with maybe some rice on an adventurous day. But then pasta again for security. And again. And again. Oh! That's with cheese, of course. For real daredevil stuff, let's go for stock sprinkled across it. Carrot sticks go pretty well with everything. So, there's the vege component. Eggs "flat on a plate" sneak in there when the body is yearning for protein. Or when comfort and protein needs coincide, a doubly eggy custard.

And how's Mum going now?

Slowly crazy, that's how she is.

Meal time after meal time, hope sprang eternal, and good old Mum cranked out another appetising, well-balanced meal. It's a phase and it will end soon!

But it didn't.

But it will end eventually, dear hard working Mum. But do let hope depart for about 6 or 7 years. I thought 7 years, while friend today thought 6 years. Split it down the middle dear Mum, and let hope depart for about 6.5 years. Give up hoping, and just be ready with a big bowl of pasta.

Then somewhere, in the middle of year 6 or 7, a miracle will occur. Fussy-eater will stretch out a little hand to sneak a little taste. "Just a taste! If I don't like it, I'm not eating it!" And while your jaw is dropping to the floor, Mr or Miss Fussy will have started to join in with the happy, hearty eating style they used to have as jolly, pleasingly rounded babes.

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  1. Oh how this brings back memories - for a long, long time I could count the foods my boys would eat on one hand. :)

  2. It's a dull old phase to be head-cook through, for sure. Thank goodness our Nine and Seven are mostly out of it now. Sounds like yours are out of it now too. Come on Four! Time to catch up!


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