It’s January! Time to turn over a new leaf! Oh wait a minute – children don’t do New Year’s resolutions do they – oh well it looks like we’ll be having the same fun in Jan as we had in December when it comes to teatime!

To kick off the 2017 blog I thought I’d share a little anecdote from a recent tea – not sure there’ll be much nutritional wisdom in this one but in our attempts to get the nutrition in, this can often be the reality and I figured a teatime shared, is a dose of therapy if nothing else!

Names have not been used to protect identities and I am of course writing this on behalf of a ‘friend’ because a dietitian’s children are always beautifully behaved at dinner and actual request kale most of the time. Here we go:

4.59pm – Dinner is served! For the record it was a rather yummy staple of salmon, noodles and broccoli. This can be jazzed up with a sauce containing a little honey, reduced salt soya sauce and a dash of lime juice – but this got rejected a few times so Mummy thought plain was the way forward!

5pm – Polite request for children to come to the table. No children arrive.

5.02pm – Polite request number two for children to come to the table. No children arrive.

5.05pm – Slightly firmer request for children to come to the table to eat the beautifully nourishing dinner that has been lovingly prepared (and is already going cold). Keeping tone light and bouncy obviously as one is not irritated at all.

5.07pm – 5 year old attends table and tucks in. 3 year old announces he is tired and heads for the sofa head in hands (note: wasn’t tired at 5.05pm when playing energetically with pirate ship).

5.08pm – Mummy insists that he must come to table. That he doesn’t have to worry because it will soon be bed time (once we have overcome the giant mountain that is tea time). Mummy takes 3 year old’s hand and gentle guides/ tugs him with forceful affection to the table.

5.09pm – 3 year old sits down. Mummy breathes sigh of relief and momentarily turns her back to pick up her water (and yes it is actually water; although Prosecco would take the edge off, Mummy knows she will achieve nothing else in the day if she tucks into the bubbles now). By this time 3 year old has assessed contents of bowl – deep breaths…

5.11pm – 3 year old wails. On probing in light and bouncy tone Mummy clarifies 3 year old would like help. Mummy loads spoon, remaining jolly of course, and encourages 3 year old to dig in.

5.12pm – And we’re off!! 3 year old is – news flash – eating!!

5.15pm – Things have been going well. Mummy has even engaged in light tea time chatter about the day but then… 3 year old spits large mouthful of food back out into bowl. Turns out he has been shovelling it in his mouth but forgetting a crucial step in the process…swallowing. Now it’s Mummy’s turn to wail!

5.16pm – Mummy regains composure and reminds 3 year old of need to swallow. Mummy reflects that 3 year old is behaving a little bit like a fly, who eats its own regurgitated food. On hearing mention of the word fly this reminds 3 year old of the animal kingdom and impressions of a variety of wildlife commence.

5.17pm – Spider, monkey, giraffe all acted out “What am I now Mummy?… look!!” – Wonderful!

5.19pm – Spider impression reminds toddler of the song about incy wincy – musical rendition commences. Oh joy!

5.20pm – Pleased with rendition 3 year old stands up in seat to cheer. Mummy reminds 3 year old of the need to sit down and eat tea to avoid banging head on dresser behind (actually…)

5.25 pm – We’re approaching the 30 minute mark now and they do say tea shouldn’t be dragged on, as this just makes everyone unhappy. Not sure what the rules are though when you’ve had an entertainment show provided alongside it. We’re nearly at the top of the mountain now though and perhaps, if we look closely enough, we can see the tractor emerging at the bottom of the bowl. Are we on the home straight?!

Meanwhile, it’s time for the 5 year old to make an entrance. She has finished her tea and has begun the discussions around pudding. Oh great. One must not be guilty of putting the pudding on a pedestal – by offering it as reward for a clear bowl. It is not superior to the main course, it is not something that is given as the real deal for finishing off the yucky stuff. It is simply the next course. And yet we all know (especially the 3 year old) that pudding is worth it. However, boredom is not a good enough reason to abandon main course (which I believe was appropriately portion sized) in favour of the next offering. Tricky territory. One goes with – ‘If you are full you do not need to finish. Your desire for pudding suggests there is more room in your tummy, so shall we enjoy the rest of our salmon and noodles first?’

5.30pm – 5 year old has begun swarming around the fridge – 3 year old watches her with interest and, with assistance, pretty much completes his lovingly prepared salmon, noodles and broccoli.

5.40pm – Pudding is served – banana and custard. Never needs any help with that bit strangely enough.

Mummy sits back, breathes and cherishes the fact that she also has a childminder, who gets to share the joy with her (although alas not tomorrow!)