Since becoming a Mum, I have found real delight in Blake’s small triumphs. The completing of a jigsaw puzzle for the first time, drinking from a cup, going down the slide unaided – all manner of little things that mean nothing to anyone else mean a great deal to me.
And this weekend there has been a glut, nay a CACOPHONY of small triumphs in one particular arena: food. When we first weaned Blake we were thrilled with his progress. There was nothing he liked more than to sit like a little King in his Baby Dan high-chair, all chubby cheeks and multiple chins, and have food shovelled into his mouth by his doting servants. And he was a good little eater – you name it, if it was puréed down and spooned into his mouth, he would eat it and eat the most ginormous quantities of it. Extremely spicey lamb curry? Don’t mind if I do. Thai green curry? Mais oui. Sunday Roast with all the trimmings. You are not getting it into my tummy fast enough. Fish pie? Yes. Pork casserole? Yes. Braised beef? Yes yes and yes.
It was when we attempted to introduce finger food that we hit what we now realise was a road-block. ATTEMPT TO FEED MYSELF MUMMY? I think not. I vividly recall chopping up a block of cheese, two carrots, an entire cucumber, two pitta bread and three peppers and entering into a merry conveyor belt game of ‘put it on the table and watch me knock it off.’ Whoever says that a baby’s natural instinct upon picking something up has not met my child. By the end of half an hour, I was flushed and twitchy eyed, every single sodding bit of carefully chopped food was on the floor and Blake was looking at me with I SWEAR a cocked eyebrow and an expression that whispered ‘Where is the Spag Bol you idiot?’
And thus the tone was set for the next 12 months – a weary game of trying and failing to get my child to feed himself, coupled with a growing irritation on his part for any real texture in his food, leading to a rejection-on-sight stale-mate that has lasted, with a few cheese-sandwich based exceptions up until THIS GLORIOUS WEEKEND. Nursery, GLORIOUS NURSERY, cracked the self-feeding for us, as they have so many of Blake’s little quirks. (I am really very hopeful that if I just remain in total denial about potty training they will do this for me too.) But otherwise, If it did not look like Spag Bol, or Tomato Pasta, or Weetabix, it was not going into his mouth. And I cannot tell you how utterly disconcerting this is for a Chef and a woman who would happily eat for four most of the time.
Over the course of this weekend we have visited Attingham Park outside Shrewsbury twice. And we have had major food breakthroughs on both days.
On Saturday Blake and I met a friend from work and her two boys and because I am a shining example of Motherhood and exceptionally responsible, he discovered that he liked Wotsits. He also ate, for his evening meal, barbecue chicken and rice. HOME COOKED I TELL YOU *smug*’ I was so sure he would automatically reject this that I stood gaping like an idiot as he shovelled spoonful after spoonful into his mouth and pronounced THIS IS DEEEEEEELISHUSH MUMMY.
On Sunday we returned to Attingham and met James’ Brother Jon, his partner Ro (I would at any other time refer to her as The Ween but it is her Birthday today HAPPY BIRTHDAY RO so I shall not run with the nickname she hates) and their children Emelia and Benjamin. And we were so thrilled as Blake rediscovered raisins, which he ate with great delight throughout our recent holiday to France and then announced he hated with passion the minute we touched down on British soil, and then discovered Cadburys Mini Rolls (no shying away from how delighted we are that we get to stock those in the snack cupboard now.)
And so riding high on a wave of hope and optimism, I knocked up a cheesy omelette for his lunch today. It took a little bit of persuading EAT THIS TINY BIT OF OMELETTE AND YOU CAN HAVE ANOTHER SPOON OF BAKED BEANS *responsible mother klaxon* but damit HE ATE IT AND USED THE WORD YUMMY. Obviously I have no photographic evidence of any of this beyond the raisins (see below) because I was too busy whooping and punching the air.
And so, in the way of small triumphs, this has been momentous because maybe maybe we are moving ever so slightly beyond the *wince* fussy eater phase and that will be a major triumph indeed.
If you haven’t been to Attingham Park, I would thoroughly recommend it even though I suspect I have only seen about 1/6 of the grounds. They have a massive playing field for children (a field where children can play? HOW NOVEL!) with a great mix of modern and natural play equipment – think tree trunks piled on top of each other to create the perfect climbing frame both in the mind of children and grown men, and joy of joys a catering truck serving tea, ice cream and bacon sandwiches. Spot on National Trust. Here is the raisin moment and a few other pictures of Blake and Emelia enjoying the field.
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