Friday, June 01, 2007

Just try it, you might like it...

On this blog, I write a lot about my monkeys and their adventures. Some adventures lead us far from home. Most tend to be pretty routine. In terms of adventures, nothing is more reliably hazard prone than the one we embark on five times a day, every day - eating. Three meals a day and two snacks (as per all the feeding guidelines) provides us with countless opportunities for mayhem, exasperation, hand-wringing, eye-rolling, and patience-testing.

Why do I devote so much time to the whole eating thing? In a nutshell, I think it's because this particular issue is a microcosm for parenting as a whole. First time parents take note, you will learn a lot about yourself when confronted with the task of feeding your child. If you think breast-feeding is hard, wait till they learn to talk back (the kid, that is.) If you sit back now in your blissful singleton state rolling your eyes in judgment at parents feeding their child chicken nuggets and french fries, just wait. The time shall come when your sanctimony and smugness will come back to haunt you. The time will come when you shall look into the depths of your soul and ask yourself, "Do I have what it takes?"

In my case, I already know the answer. I gave up months ago. It's a complete free-for-all in our house and I don't even care.

What kind of parent are you? Test yourself by having two children, close in age, each of whom has a radically different approach to culinary exploration.

Exhibit A - the picky toddler. Every moment spent at the table is an ordeal to be borne with the patience of Job, the stiff upper lip of a true Englishman, and the fortitude of a hardened combat veteran. Here Jordan pantomimes his feelings about being there. Who is that little companion beside him? Why it's a Smurf, of course. Don't you eat all your meals with some form of diversion to occupy yourself?

In contrast, here we have his sister, Miss Mina. Not only is her tray loaded down with twice the amount of food as her brother, she is so eager to get at it, that I have to keep it a safe distance from her to allow me enough time to snap the picture. For those wondering - she is eating some Orzo pasta, tomatoes, spinach and ricotta filled raviolis, and a side slice of pizza (her brother's sole concession to food).

Ever the comedian, Monkey frequently uses humor to distract me from my stated mission of feeding him. On this particular occasion, the Smurf paid the price.

"Just try it, you might like it," he says to the Smurf ... then demonstrates by face planting said Smurf into the plate.

And yet, I considered this particular meal a huge success. Why? Because Monkey then proceeded to lick the food off the Smurf's head. Yes! Calories in!

Monkey could sit at the table all day goofing off with Smurfs and books, and bottle caps. It doesn't matter, as long as no one pressures him to eat anything. On the other hand, this is what happens when Miss Mina is not fed quickly enough.

She tries really hard to feed herself; and she does a good job for the most part. Except when she misses. And then the floor looks like this.

Which is why we have this.

Buon Appetito!

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