Lindsay Woods: Easter break is like the amuse-bouche to the main event, the summer holidays

It has finally happened. We have gone from zero to 60 in no time at all. 

No, I am not referring to the recent financial windfall I was the beneficiary of and which allowed me to purchase some enviable horsepower for the serious business of doing ‘the messages’ (in the vein of utter transparency, there was no windfall. Or a purchase of serious horsepower). 

I am instead referring to spuds. Moreover, the quantity of which my child can now consume.

Most parents the nation over are now deep in the trenches of the school holidays. 

Many of us are fortunate if we have made it to day two before realising they have eaten us well and truly out of house and home. 

Because for all of the discourse surrounding fussy eaters, recipe books denoting delicacies for our darlings’ palates and meal plans out the yin-yang, there is very little solace offered for those of us who appear to find ourselves co-habiting with bottomless pits!

The Easter break is like the amuse-bouche to the main event, the summer holidays. 

A titillating little mouthful full of promise and a break from the norm. 

The evenings are brighter, the birds are chattier and everyone is generally in a more gregarious humour. 

But like in the summer holidays, children will gorge and fill their boots and resort to a refrain of “I’m bored!” or worse, “what’s for dinner?”

My child is one who consistently looks like he is covered in a fine layer of crud. 

He is sporty and overly fond of being outdoors; both of which I am very much in favour of. 

His legs are speckled with bruises and cuts from being either on a pitch or hauling himself in and out of a ditch due to fort construction. 

Such is his fondness for escaping the confines of four walls, that within a mere week it becomes difficult to distinguish between his epidermis and mud. 

Compounded when, last summer, on passing the bathroom door as he was hosing himself down, I exclaimed: “Look at the dirt on your legs! Give me that sponge.” 

A few seconds of overly vigorous scrubbing brought forth howls of “Mum!!!! That’s not dirt…that’s my skin!”

But with this love of the fresh air came the increased appetite. Barely would he have swallowed the first bite at breakfast before enquiring as to what was on offer for dinner.

Yet not only did he favour quantity but also variety, therefore rendering my initial brainwave of plonking an entire pot of spuds in front of him seven days a week null and void. 

We had transitioned from the “what is it?” phase to the “is there more?” phase. 

I would watch in awe as he shovelled a curry in using a naan bread as a utensil. 

The vegetables which were not his favourite were consumed first so he could crack on with the rest of his meal. 

He would swallow a crustacean with the same gusto as chicken nuggets or an entire head of broccoli.

He was an equal opportunities employer but with a wolfish look when sat at the table. It was enthralling to watch.

“Is this normal?” I asked my husband.

‘Totally. Myself and my brothers would race to finish what was on our plates so we could get the last spud in the pot. 

"He’s not just eating. He’s using his food as fuel. Wait until he’s a teenager.”

As parents, food is a hot topic. 

If we are not worrying over what they are eating, we are worrying over the portion size. 

Is that enough? They can’t be full. The child has only eaten cream crackers…for a week.

So, to suddenly have a child who appears less than five minutes post-meal to ask for an apple took a little longer to get used to. 

Whereas once upon a time I fretted if the mashed-up bowl of multiple veggies was too much, now I find myself questioning if he has too little, such is his voracious appetite.

But then I remember that kids take what they need. 

Like most children his age, he is some man to decimate a packet of jellies and would most likely sell his soul for a Mars bar, but he relishes his meals. 

It is refreshing to see him view his food in such a manner and that he came to this conclusion by simply listening to his body. 

He can now confidently prepare his own breakfast and lunch, which has also given him autonomy.

However, I am toying with the notion of refitting the child lock on the fridge, so the food lasts for the first week of the Easter break.

@thegirlinthepaper

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