written: feeding time at the zoo (or ‘how to eat dinner with a toddler’)

Ham sandwiches are SO DULL

Before we had children, mealtimes in our house used to consist of the two of us balancing our plates on our laps after work, feet on the coffee table and our latest box set on the TV. In the winter, we’d wriggle our toes under blankets, bellies full of soups and casseroles, pies and puddings, and in the summer we’d throw the windows of our flat open wide and inhale the balmy evening air, feasting on ice cream, lollies and fresh fruit.

And then we had children.

Ice lolly fun (no, not homemade)

Now our mealtimes go a little something like this:

Tell toddler dinner is ready, and gently explain that they need to come to the table.

Wait patiently while toddler chooses a toy to bring to the table with them.
Lift toddler into seat.
Explain to toddler that they don’t need any more toys at the table, and that they’re not getting down again.
Attempt to restrain toddler with chair harness while feeling like you’re wrestling an octopus.
Catch a foot to the ribcage. Resist urge to swear.
Tell toddler that kicking is not allowed.
Fasten strap. Feel smug.
Put dinner on the table. Toddler eyes plate and declares it ‘yucky’.
Arrange toddlers food into a fun pattern.
Toddler looks at you pityingly and pushes plate away.
Make food into series of shapes, patterns, faces and sculpture of landmarks, while Toddler clamps their lips shut.
Toddler notices your dinner and claims ownership.
Swap plates with toddler.
Toddler tries to feed you.
Toddler smears mashed potato across your mouth. Wipe potato away.
Toddler laughs and throws a piece of food at you.
Tell Toddler that throwing food is not allowed.
Tell Older Child not to laugh at Toddler.
Toddler scatters food like confetti and throws plate on the floor.
Wonder how it is that you came to live in a zoo with chimpanzees.
Pick up food from floor. Tell Toddler they have to eat something.
Toddler asks for scrambled egg.
Make Toddler scrambled egg.
Toddler refuses to eat scrambled egg.
Put egg on fork and make series of aeroplane noises.
Toddler knocks fork out of your hand and turns plate upside down. Egg now everywhere.
Toddler laughs.
Tell Toddler this is their last chance to choose something.
Toddler asks for toast.
Tell Toddler toast is not a meal.
Tell Toddler not to scream.
Beg Toddler to stop screaming.
Make Toddler toast.
Toddler starts to eat toast.
Retreat into kitchen to find something to eat.
Look at wine longingly. Stroke wine.
Return to find Toddler poking toast behind the radiator.
Tell Toddler not to poke toast behind the radiator.
Toddler laughs and throws toast at you.
Try not to weep. Wonder how easy it is to get hold of valium.
Beg Toddler to eat something.
Toddler asks for crackers and cheese.
Make Toddler crackers and cheese.
Toddler refuses to eat crackers because ‘butter is yucky’.
Resist urge to punch self in the face.
Toddler eats cheese with dry crackers.
Consider that there are carbs and dairy, and decide that it counts as a balanced meal.
Pick food out of hair / clothes / ears / nose / radiator / carpet and prepare for bedtime.

Of course, not every day is like that; sometimes Daisy will eat everything that’s put in front of her with no fuss. By sometimes, I mean roughly twice a week. Sigh.

The table is WAY better for drawing than eating. 


  1. Jo Middleton
    October 2, 2014 / 10:42 am

    Love this!!"Wonder how easy it is to get hold of valium" – I have genuinely had this thought more times that I can count.

  2. Squiggling About
    October 2, 2014 / 3:00 pm

    How did you know what happens during our meal times? 🙂

  3. Nikki Banham-Hall
    October 2, 2014 / 7:18 pm

    This happened in our house this evening except she ended up eating weetabix.Nikki x Bead It and Weep

  4. Claire Evans
    October 3, 2014 / 10:08 pm

    Life changes in so many ways when you have kids doesn't it? I really need to clean my radiator out! Why did I ever think it was a good idea putting the high chair next to it? x

  5. fritha strickland
    October 4, 2014 / 1:44 pm

    haha I love that top photo and that video of her falling asleep in her lunch haha! Food is often a struggle with W unless its pasta pizza or other carbs starting with P. x

  6. KatGotTheCream
    October 5, 2014 / 5:49 pm

    So so true, but you missed out the bit about while you're bending down to pick food off the floor, toddler drops more food into your hair and laughs (that does actually happen to me regularly!).

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