Keeping them fed


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

I always recall a tweet from comedian Bernard O’Shea about eating a Super Split ice-cream in the downstairs toilet so his three-year-old wouldn’t look for some.
It had me laughing, partly because I knew that would be me before I knew it.
Frankie will be four in November and you dare not eat anything in her presence unless you are willing to share it with her. So any goodies tend to be kept until after she’s gone to bed. It’s a useful dieting exercise, in fact.
She’s quite partial to ice-cream, biscuits and chocolate, despite our best efforts to keep them from her.
But it’s not a race you are ever going to win, merely one you try and stay competitive in for as long as possible.
It was easier with Frankie than it will be with Éamon, as he will be looking at what she’s asking for and expecting the same.
A walk to the local shop during the summer was often a damage-limitation exercise. We would try to get them to share a bag of crisps with us but Frankie was having none of it, insisting on a ‘loop’ (Loop the Loop). Éamon was content with the crisps.
Thankfully, they are not looking for such goodies all the time and are very happy with some healthy treats. Éamon will stop whatever he is in the middle of for an apple while both of them love grapes and strawberries.
Don’t try give them a healthy dinner though and expect to get away with putting a few chips on your own plate.
The chips will be seen, they will be demanded and, if you have any hope of eating your dinner in peace or in the kids eating theirs, the chips must be shared.
So best to keep such temptation off your plate in the first place.
Trying to get a variety of foods into kids who can be a bit iffy about trying new things is a challenge.
Frankie can be a very plain eater. There was a time where her diet would consist of porridge in the morning, fruit for snacks, toast at lunch and potato and soup for dinner.
The latter is more commonly known as a baby bowl and can be absolutely divine! I know, I know, she eats little enough without me tasting some of what she actually does like!  
But Frankie is varying it up a bit since. Pasta (plain, of course) has been added and she has developed a fondness for broccoli. Cheese is pretty much all she will eat in a sandwich despite our best efforts with a range of cold meats, including ‘Paw Patrol’ ham. She was very excited by the packaging and the paw image in the ham but less so about actually eating it.
Éamon is keener on his meats and both love fish fingers as a treat.
Getting enough into them so they will sleep soundly – believe me, this is very important – often has proven a challenge.
But a recommendation from a work colleague proved inspired – yogurt. Both love them and will tend to eat whatever supper is on offer, within reason, for the promise of a yogurt.
And when they are gone, then the goodies can come out. If only they knew.

In his fortnightly column, Edwin McGreal charts the ups and downs of the biggest wake-up call of his life: parenthood.