Pssst!

I have to whisper, because you know I wouldn’t like to jinx it, but I wanted to share something with you, the week just past, because this is the weekend when we can share secrets, if we share them very quietly, so that you know who doesn’t get wind of it.

Here’s a few things:-
1. California shrimp sushi rolls
2. Pot stickers one shrimp one pork
3. Fish sticks, peas, corn, mashed potatoes and one micro dot of tomato sauce
4. Home made [white] bread
5. Egg and potato curry with coconut milk carrots, onions and celery
6. bread and butter pudding with marmalade [a bit like French toast]
7. wed  10/12/08 chicken corn enchiladas, peas, sloppy joes with lentils and tomatoes, spinach nuggets
8. thur  golden carrots, mashed potato, sausage, tomato sauce, sorrel
9. Fri  white fish fillets [breadcrumbed], red chard, rosemary potato chips, salad, avocado sushi rolls
10. Sat  wholewheat pizza with pepperoni, mozzarella and spinach, bean burrito.

These are some of the things that entered my son’s mouth and were swallowed, only a teaspoonful of each one of course, but I suspect, although it’s too soon to say with any certainty, that I may have lost my neophobe, possibly. They remained in his digestive system. The screams were more habit than painful, you know, the lowest common denominator, if in doubt ˜yell your head off,’ but he stayed in his chair. As he chewed, sort of, he examined his biceps waiting for them to grow, which they surely are? All in all, I think we are entering an entirely new phase of life, growth and change. To date none of the ˜new foods’ has rated anything higher than a 3 out of 10. Most are zero, or minus infinity, but all the same, what do you think? He’s nearly 8. We’ve been at this for five years. Is it really possible? Is that how long it takes for some people? Every day exposure for 365 days times five? To desensitize them? So now I’m wondering, maybe, just maybe, in the future, say in, what?……five years, perhaps food might be a source of pleasure? Am I jinxing him? Am I getting ahead of myself? Will I have to delete this tomorrow? Oooo pushy parents! In the meantime, please send emergency supplies of toilet paper, urgent!


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Junk food

I am a woman of strong convictions, so I waste no time, take out my pen and write to the local school district about their disgraceful policy on school lunches.

Not a mung bean in sight, nor in storage. How can young minds learn anything when they are starved of good, nutritionally well balanced meals. Where is the tofu may I ask? Whole-wheat is a good start but wheat-free options should be a priority. Fresh fruit and yoghourt is all very well but what about the lactose intolerant. Haven't you people heard of soy? Don't you know there's more to a salad bar than lettuce and tomatoes? Whilst the new recyclable lunch container policy is commendable, shouldn't there be a complete ban on paper towels too? We parents have high standards that are inviolate.

I pause as I hear the garage door open.

Children tumble into the house.

Spouse brings up the rear mounded high with sacks of groceries.
“You'll never guess what?”
“What?”
“Tell her. Hey! Tell your mum what we bought.”
“Um……”
“Come on! Tell her! No words? O.k. just show her then. He chose it all by himself, just like that!”

If that's the 18th food then I'm a beansprout.

I toss the letter in the bin.

Traitor.


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Breakthrough – carnivores gnash their teeth

A year onwards from where we were last year. Chipping away at “neophobia.”
[translation = a diet containing less than 20 foods]

We have been going great guns. Junior is now consuming oatmeal, pasta, rice, and applesauce. That constitutes four new foods! Feel free to congratulate us and send us your heart felt best wishes.

I know the campaign has been hard, months actually, added to every meal of the day, but it is beginning to pay dividends at last. Maybe he’s not really eating it as such, but those items do enter the oral cavity. He’s still at the ‘spitting them out afterwards’ stage, [after we’ve counted to four,] but it constitutes movement in the right direction. We count more slowly now too, which makes it more agonizing for him and for us, come to think of it. We try and persuade him to close his mouth, lip touching lip during the count, which is a great advance as you it is difficult to scream if your mouth is shut. [translation = more of a muffled drowning sound] Every time the mouth opens and the screams leap out, we advise him to close them again and begin the counting again, from one. Otherwise it doesn’t count. [translation = would be cheating of course]

Personally I think his therapist is getting a bit above herself. There’s ‘positive’ and ‘enthusiastic’ but there’s also ‘are you completely mad!” I think I managed to cover my surprise quite successfully at the time, when she suggested that we should put the pressure on and make him try meat. Yes! Meat! Has the woman taken leave of her senses? Is she completely insane or merely certifiable? My eyes are wide but I keep my lips firmly clamped together as I process this suggestion. Turkey? Perhaps a little beef? Now I know she’s lost it, but I smile cautiously giving the illusion of agreement and consensus. It’s not as if he’s a vegetarian by choice as such. In fact,if you consider his fish consumption this is clearly untrue, although categorizing ‘goldfish’ in that manner might be a bit of a stretch.

We leave occupational therapy with our four little tubs of tester food; oatmeal, pasta, rice and applesauce. I strap the children into the car, deep in contemplation.

Meat? Turkey, chicken, lamb, beef? What is the blandest, most textureless, flavourless meat on the planet?

Of course! Hot dogs!

I worship the ground that their little American feet walk on.


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Weaning onto ‘solid’ food

I attempt friendly chit chat with a stiff upper lip to hide the cat's cradle of elastic bands covering “my braces.” As it turns out, this woman works at some health thigummy place and her husband has had jaw surgery. She commiserates with me about liquid food and stray fibres. She advises me of the importance of protein in my diet. I used to have a vague and random knowledge of the subject, but over the last few years and especially lately, such matters have dwindled in priority. Too stress the point, she reminds me that a lack of protein can have dire consequences for an otherwise healthy person. She leans forward to belabour the point, 'yur hair il fall out in hand fulls!” I consider the tufts of grey hair that currently decorate my scalp.

I return home with renewed vigour to consume yet another chocolate shake with extra soy protein powder to clog up the braces and lure cavities.

I do not share my son's need for perfection. The 'that'll do' approach dominates. [translation = if in doubt, give up] For novelty's sake, I decide to read the label and torture my brain with a little mathematical calculation. I determine that two 'scoops' of foul protein powder should be the new order of the day. The only problem with this plan is that I have mislaid the measuring scoop, or more truthfully, that “a certain lizard” of our acquaintance, has a greater need than mine. Now that it has been contaminated I am less inclined to retrieve it. I 'guess,' plop a couple of shovelfuls into the liquidizer and stab 'on.' Once the power has been cut, junior emerges from his hiding spot with his hands still over his ears, with a touch of “enthusiasm.”

“You are have chocolate milkshake?” he beams rhetorically.
“I am.”
“It is cold?”
“Oh no, just room temperature, just the way you like it.”
“I do not like it.”
“I know.”
“You do not like it either I am finking.”
“You're not wrong there matey.” I tip it into a tall glass, a glass glass because plastic tumblers that are mangled in a dish washer are foul. It takes a long time for the contents to empty, thick, foamy, glutenous. We look at it together.
“It is a liquid?” I don't answer immediately as I try to work out the 'right' answer.
“I fink maybe you are going to be eating it.” Always better to let him answer his own questions, as it's bound to save on a few meltdowns. “Maybe you are wanting a straw?” he seems to ask himself. I am delighted with this considerate consideration. “Perhaps, you are needing a spoon. You are needing a very small spoon?” he mentions in a dubious tone as we both contemplate braces, elastic bands and mouth hardware in general. We look at each other, pupils locked on pupils. I lift the glass and tilt it to my lips. The surface fails to yield. My glass is filled with a solid cylinder of milkshake. For the moment I would prefer to avoid the debate about what foods are “solid” to be eaten, and which are liquid, to be drunk.

“I know!” he pipes, “it is chocolate pudding, so I can be eating it for you!”
Oh good o, that solves that one then! He is such a solution orientated little guy. If there is a causal connection between “male pattern balding” and “neophobia,” he may just have licked it! Or maybe, eaten it. It’s enough to make your “hair” stand on end, if you have any. I assume that I am therefore destined to be the bald one of the family. At least I already have my “glasses” as a prop.

p.s.Yes, it is a 'new food' because it's voluntary, it is a familiar food in a different form or at least it is if “neophobia” is in your household.

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