I need to find out if other parents are having the same meal time issues.
The boys are relatively good eaters. Like others of their age they are fairly fussy. They have a dislike for most fruit and veggies. They enjoy meat and some fish. They devour all manner of desert (as long as it is ice cream.)
Asking them to try something new is like asking them to walk over broken glass.
If I manage to bribe them to the point of trying this new thing – it will more than likely result in fake gagging before the food even hits the back of their throat. You would be forgiven for thinking I had just made them drink petrol.
This however, is not my meal time gripe.
What is bothering me is the food that ends up on the floor.
I am not talking about the odd kernel of corn or the occasional dropped grain of rice.
I am talking about the repeated and sustained bombardment of food hitting the floor with every mouthful, at every meal.
When they are babies it is funny and quite endearing. As toddlers they have tiny hands and the inability to hold cutlery properly. But now they are young boys. They should know how to eat. It’s really not that hard to keep food on a plate.
I request that the floor stays clean before every meal. I bribe with desert, I threaten with cleaning up, I make bets and offer treats.
But my nerves grind as each tomato sauce coated chip splatters on the ground. I look on in dismay as pasta falls and glues itself to the floor. I have my head in my hands as chunks of chicken fall from their fork onto their clothes then onto the floor.
They don’t care. They sit with one leg up. Slouched over the table or sitting too far back. Shovelling food in as fast as they can. The main meal is just a necessary inconvenience to get themselves to desert.
“why is there more food on the floor than the plate?” I ask for the 654th time.
“What do you mean dad?” they mumble back as flying food from their open mouths garnish my own plate
“please stop talking with your mouth full”. I then say resignedly
“oh showwy Dad” they say while shovelling more in
I realise we, as parents, are to blame. We haven’t been enforcing meal time etiquette as much as we should.
But you pick your battles. And often at the end of the day this is one battle that we choose to leave.
I went out for a curry last week with my youngest Zak. A huge moment for me. Zak loves butter chicken. Particularly the sauce, rice and nan bread.
When we left it looked like the restaurant had been hit by a food bomb and Zak had been in the firing line. He was covered in butter chicken sauce. His face, his clothes. How the hell did he get it in his ears??
It is the same at home. Who needs a napkin when you have the arm of your shirt.
How often have you said the words.
“if you want desert you need to finish your meal? “
And how often have you heard the reply:
“I can’t. I’m so full, I feel sick”.
“ Ok eat half”
“ Ok no ice cream
“fiiiiiiiinnneee I will eat it”
“By the way I can see that piece of chicken hidden under your tomato sauce.”
I’m sure as they grow up these things will all fall into place.
But for now I may have a solution…………