Eating for two

One of the benefits of actually having a child is that I now get to properly judge why other people parent their own children the way they do. I mean, I always judged, but it seems more fun doing it when you have more of a clue.

We ate out on Monday, and sat outside at a pavement cafe. At the next table a mother, her friend and her little boy (about E’s age) had their lunch. The boy was working his way through a bucket of potato wedges.

“Oh don’t eat that one darling, it looks a bit burnt!” she said. It wasn’t burnt, it was merely dusky with the effects of deep frying with its skin in. The little boy proceeded to put it down and root through the bucket, examining each wedge before deciding not to eat any of them.

I speak not from a position of superiority, you understand. At the same time E was painstakingly picking out all the bits of lettuce from her fish finger and pea sandwich before leaving them sitting at the side of the plate. But it seemed an odd hang up to pass on to someone, a fear of things that aren’t cooked to a colour you’re happy with.

E’s eating habits are very different at home than they seem at nursery. I dropped her off the other day and had to take her through for breakfast (usually they take her off me before then.) It was a revelation to watch her sit at the table, drink juice from an open beaker using two hands, not wave it around, and then help herself politely to a pancake from a big plate. It’s not like we don’t instil routine and table manners at home but this seemed a different level. And according to their reports she always eats sandwiches. She’s never eaten a sandwich I’ve bought her when we’re out yet – today she ate the filling and left all the bread.

This is problematic of course. A lot of menus have sandwiches on and the kinds of places we go for lunch are sandwich based. I either have to unwrap cheese and a banana from my bag for her to eat (which seems rude) or try and find somewhere that has a more imaginative menu.

Anyway, I’ve been trying not to judge her eating preferences with my own prejudice – so she eats baked beans (bleagh), rice pudding (yuk) and once, cauliflower cheese (*borks*). And she’s started to go off things that she previously loved – cheese, for example no longer excites her. Sad times.

But it does mean food is now more of a guessing game than it’s been so far. They seem to do a lot of things in sauce at nursery – perhaps that’s my next line. Chasseurs. I have no idea what these are. Recipes please.

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