The big guy has begun a phase of growth that can only be described as otherworldly. So much so that when I look at him for any length of time I can see the hem of his jeans drifting up and away from his ankles.
Ok, perhaps not that quickly, but it is really quite fast. The stack of clothes he grows out of each month seems comical, until we try to replace them of course. This textile scrap heap is aside from the clothes that fall into the cannot wear anymore category because they are too torn or too uncleanable or too played in or even items that were simply misplaced while he was visiting Neverland and will as such never be seen again.
He’s the youngest child in his class by a good two months and some of the children in his class were actually born before he was even conceived. That said, my boy is the tallest among them. Everyone else in the class looks like a toddler standing next to him or at best apprentice children standing next to the journeyman kid.
There’s a corollary to his height though which is that he fuels his unchecked growth with food that needs to be available on demand and in abundant supply. In short, my boy eats like he’s preparing for hibernation. He is by no means portly mind you, he’s a slender guy and is very proud of his hard earned muscles, which he has because he eats all his vegetables – obviously.
Of course there are some difficulties around the food. For instance, he will sometimes refuse to eat two helpings of the same food whether he enjoys the first plate or not and is likely to request a new plate of food from entirely different food groups to the first. There may also not be anything with an unknown sauce on it (including tomato sauce). Vegetables must be readily identifiable for what they are and may not be transformed to mimic another food like mash or rice (both of which these days are made out of cauliflower). Butter is also taboo and if there is any end user involvement in a process to complete the presentation of a meal, like adding a sprinkle of cheese over the top of a bowl of bolognaise, this must be left to him to do.
His mother will accommodate him in these demands as far as possible, whipping up a tuna pasta for the first course and an assortment of biscuits and cheese and yogurt and fruit for the second. I must admit that my offerings are somewhat less varied, usually consisting of peanut butter and syrup on bread cut into squares followed by peanut butter and syrup on bread cut into triangles. I very rarely get any complaints and I think it’s because he gets it. We’re guys. When left to our own devices, we just make do. But put a mom in the room and we’re like the judges on masterchef demanding an array of a amuse bouche to sate a hunger.
He may also officially be well on his way to transforming into a monkey. He eats bananas every day. This I expect is more to do with us as parents than with his taste in fruit. Often we’ll announce ‘bedtime’ and immediately there will be a complaint from him that he’s still hungry.
Now, a child that is determined to delay bedtime can make the process of eating an apple take a month. Literally. Each tiny bite can be chewed in excess of thirty times or at least to the point where the child doesn’t even want to swallow the bite anymore. Each bite location on the apple itself can be chosen with excruciating care and this excludes all the breaks in chewing that are required to allow the jaw an appropriate amount of rest before the next bite.
In short, apples are never to be fed to children at bed time. Page one.
That said, there is virtually no food more easily or quickly consumed than a banana. A banana, is your ‘friend’ at bedtime. A few small bites and it’s done. It’s mostly water and so isn’t that filling and it’s like a story in that it has a start, middle and end. An apple, by comparison, is relatively ambiguous in that it can be milked for every last little bite and drive you to the point where you want to ban apples from the house altogether.
Again, see page one.
As I look forward into the future and imagine my boy in his teenage years, I get the feeling that I should be setting aside funds for food now for not only future rainy days but for breakfast, lunch and dinner on any given day of the week too.