To think there was a time when my eldest (Noah) would fight me on everything I put in front of him to eat. A time where I would literally spend hours trying to cram veggies into sauces, create special concoctions and blend the perfect smoothies just to make them appealing enough for him to drink!! To think there was a time where I was so worried about my son’s lack of interest in food that I would spent hours trawling the internet for answers and googling things like “Can a baby starve themselves to death?” and ” Can a mother’s cooking be so bad that a child would rather starve?”
Yup that was me. I can remember one particularly challenging day, I had arrived home from the clinic where my fears were only confirmed: My 1 year-old wasn’t putting on any weight. Despite all the meal prep and hours spent whipping up yummy treats, my kid gave me the middle finger when it came to eating anything remotely substantial. I eventually, after months of fighting with him at every mealtime, had to accept than my child was just a fussy eater. Or maybe it wasn’t so much that he was a fussy eater but more that he wasn’t interested in food, of any kind.
I think the full extent of this realisation was at his 2 birthday party where I went all out with Barney cupcakes, flings, lolly pops and all the usual things (NORMAL human) children find irresistible. We watched in amazement as our cute little birthday boy avoided the sweet table all together. The only thing he ate the entire party was one little fling. And only because I forced him to eat it. I mean, that was the moment where I was like “I think we need to get this kid checked out? Is he normal? Is he human?” And for a while after that I would express my concern to friends and family and the countless peads who we visited over the years.
But all my concerns were met with the same response. Almost every one I spoke to about this would say “Just wait until he is all grown up, he is going to eat you out of home.” I can remember thinking ” Oh I WISH!!!, Wouldn’t that be treat?”
Well, guys they were right. Noah turned a corner at about 4 years old. It was like he woke up one morning and realised what he had been missing out on and hasn’t stopped eating since. He would eat anything and everything and it was like watching his hunger come alive… I was shocked!
But I have to tell you, nothing prepared me for what I am experiencing now… both my boys (almost 5 and 7) have taken eating to a whole new level! From the second they open their eyes, they are like vacuum cleaners, inhaling anything their eyes see. Oh my goodness their eyes, always scanning for food : be it my handbag, the car, the kitchen cupboards, the fridge!! Big dilated eyes like a hungry foxes scanning their surroundings for prey. I swear I look at them sometimes and fear for my life, what if they don’t find what they are looking for? Will they eat me? Or worse their baby sister?
Noah wakes up and before he even opens his eyes he is asking what’s for breakfast. And while we are on the subject of breakfast, it’s no ordinary meal my friends. Breakfast is always, and I mean always a three course affair. It usually starts with a bowl of cereal, of which he always asks for seconds. And on completion he will request toast with tea. You would think that would keep him going for hours right? No. They have a snack at 9.30 at school, followed by proper lunch (A sandwich, fruit and either a muffin or pretzels or popcorn) at 11.15. When he arrives home at 1pm he still dumps his bag and runs straight to the kitchen with an almost glazed look in his eyes and he declares “I’m STARVING what’s for lunch????”
In the beginning this used to shock me but I’m prepared for these hunger spurts now. These days you will find me armed with ham and cheese and big loaves of bread. Somedays I have home cooked meal ready to serve as he walks in door. I cram as much as I can into his sandwiches and even tell him there are bananas in the fruit bowl should he still be hungry after that. And yes, he always is. As he is the entire afternoon all the way to dinner time. Last night after dinner (A huge bowl of beef and veg soup with a wholewheat roll) he ate a piece of toast with peanut butter and banana and then managed to get dad to make him another! And his ‘baby’ brother and sister are not far behind him. Hunter eats four meals a day now! I mean WTF?????
And yes I’ve dewormed him. A few times! It leaves me wondering : Does my kid have a serious case of the munchies?? Surely my seven year old son is too young to be smoking weed?
As much as I love that my boys have healthy appetites, the amount of food they consume in one day is alarming. Also, not only does it get exhausting making food for them ALL day, I’m beginning to worry about the cost of it all. I easily spend R500 a week on snacks alone. At this rate I’m not sure we are going to afford putting them through school all the way to the end. Never mind Uni.
As much as I know that we are actually quite blessed when it comes to the cost of living in SA compared to some countries, (Many of you may be shocked because it certainly doesn’t feel that way a lot of the time, but we are quite spoiled when it comes to rent and food prices) I can’t help but notice how food prices have soared over the last few years. Sure there are a lot of factors that contribute to this such as VAT increases, agriculture and the state of our economy, but it’s becoming quite scary how little we get for our buck right? I can easily pay R500 for two small packets of basic groceries. I mean that’s crazy. Bottom line is, salaries have not kept pace with such increases in the cost of living (petrol, food, electricity etc..) and it’s tough to make ends meet. Especially when you have three humungous tummies to feed.
Please tell me I’m not the only one whose kids are eating them out of home?
Also, what do you give your kids that is healthy and filling AND inexpensive? Our snacks are pretty much limited to the following ; popcorn, fruit, pretzels, muffins, rusks and biltong occasionally. (They will eat a R100 bag in one sitting and I just can’t support that kind of habit!) I need some suggestions of ways we can make our money stretch! HELP!!!!