Another night, another fight over dinner in the Fibro. Mr3 is not a good eater. Scratch that, he is a good eater as long as I serve him something he likes. He recently informed me that the only thing that I cook that he likes is chips. Chips. And this week he decided he didn’t even want to eat those.
He will eat cucumber. He doesn’t mind a carrot stick. Capsicum, slices of apple, slivers of cheese, all good. If he were on a diet, we’d be going great. Anything else on his plate, and he can sit at the table for hours not eating. He will talk, sing, tell stories, ask questions – anything but eat. It is, not to put too fine a point on it, incredibly frustrating.
Tonight, he was despatched to bed. Three refusals equals early night. Not long after he went, I sat on the sofa and watched kids a few years older than him shave truffles over mashed potato, temper white chocolate and make baklava. Boys with hairstyles ranging from Ben 10 to Suzie Quatro to Justin Bieber worried anxiously over their Quatre Quarts, their honey-soy-lime stir fry, their lemon meringue pies. Lots of interchangeable blonde girls did beautiful things with pomegranates and almonds.
Junior Masterchef was eye-opening. On one hand it gives me hope that Mr3, who shows a keen interest in helping me in the kitchen even if he doesn’t actually want to eat what I cook, may one day end up with a cool haircut and a practised hand with a whisk. On the other, the little girl who cooked her mini-mud cakes in plastic ramekins had me in tears. As did all those hopeful little faces, waiting to see if their best was good enough. The mums and dads in the grandstand, beaming and weeping over their offspring, did me in completely.
I’m not good in the face of childish feats of wonder. Get me on the wrong day, and a children’s choir can have me in floods. All that purity of sound. All those earnest faces. All that potential. It overloads my senses and turns me into a basket case.
I will give Junior Masterchef one more night, to see if I can cope with the sight of children trying manfully to hide their disappointment at not being chosen. If not, I’ll despatch myself to bed early. It seems only fair.