Once upon a time you were assessed on your ability to work within a team, to problem solve and to meet client expectations. Now you’re a parent and your whole life’s worth is down to two things: your ability to make your child eat and sleep.
A ‘good’ baby eats like a champ and sleeps like a… well, like a baby. But not the real version of a baby who sleeps in 15 minute blocks and wakes every time you turn the kettle on, the magical unicorn baby who goes down at 7pm and doesn’t stir until 7am.
These ‘good’ babies have wonderful mothers and fathers who have succeeded in passing on the vital life lessons these bubs need to survive. Because babies are basically idiots who don’t understand that eating and sleeping are not only essential for their existence but they are the two greatest joys of life and it baffles me that they don’t come out of the womb knowing this. HOW HARD IS IT? Just close your eyes for God’s sake. IT’S SO EASY.
So anyway, some mums and dads have earned themselves a gold star with their superior parenting, which has produced the highly coveted “text-book baby”.
Meanwhile, mums like me are sitting around, crying into their stewed apple because their child has been awake for 48 hours and refuses to open their mouth.
Mums like this have probably held their baby too much. Or not enough. Or they did too much rocking or shushing or told their baby they loved them one too many times. They probably made eye contact while putting them to bed. They probably fed them too soon or too late or gave them too many options or didn’t provide enough variety. These mums probably failed to look their infant in the eye and say, “I am the boss, you WILL eat this or you will starve” or they were probably too strict and made meal times a battleground. Most likely they’re just lazy and haven’t tried hard enough. Losers.
I failed my first child. He didn’t sleep. He didn’t eat. Actually, he still doesn’t eat or sleep because he’s basically a bionic robot child who recharges on light beams and the tears of his delirious, hallucinating mother. I’m obviously a loser and it’s all my fault because if you have a picky eater, you did everything wrong.
Except I don’t think I did.
I’ve worked my arse off trying every technique known to mumkind and he still doesn’t want to sleep. I’ve listened to all the advice and made a zillion meals (obviously never offering a second meal in one sitting because that’s WRONG) and he still laughs in my stupid, stupid face and asks for plain pasta. There isn’t a tip you could offer that I haven’t already tried and failed at. The damage is too deep.
I second guessed everything I’d ever done and felt sure I could have done things better and then… Enter The Fang. Despite being a terrible, useless and lazy mother, my second child knows how to eat. I didn’t really do anything differently, but she needs all the food and she needs it now.
Child number one likes to snack on air and his mother’s self-loathing so I have never worried too much about having food on hand during the day. Fang baby disagrees. She needs breakfast, second breakfast, morning tea, lunch, second lunch, afternoon tea, pre-dinner snack, dinner, second dinner and dessert thanks very much. And if I don’t keep up the supply, she’ll just yell at me until I dish something up. Dinner time is loud.
We were sent some Organix snacks for Pop to try and when I read the ingredients on the carrot sticks corn puffs, I was not impressed. The puffed corn and potato was fine, as was the carrot powder seasoning. It all seemed pretty straightforward, healthy and organic. Until I read the last ingredient… coriander powder.
Now, coriander, my friends, is the devil’s herb. I loathe coriander with all the fury of a lolly-less toddler. Coriander makes my tongue want to retreat down my throat and bathe itself in stomach acid just to rid itself of the taste. The flavour is somewhere between kitty litter and battery acid. Some dirty Canadians once tried to trick me into eating it by calling it ‘cilantro’, but when that foul little herb hit my tongue I knew I was in the presence of evil and those conniving Canucks paid dearly for their deception. I feel so sad for people who say they love coriander because they’re clearly not in their right mind or their tongue is broken. I don’t see how you can ever be happy if you want to have coriander in your food. It’s like ingesting fly spray. You are obviously a self-sabotager.
So, I felt pretty strongly that Pop would take one lick and hurl those devil sticks across the room.
The child wouldn’t stop. The fluffy crunchiness of the sticks dissolved in her gummy little mouth and she literally licked the packet clean. She loved them so much I went to the shop and bought more (oh my heavy heart). Firstly, she’s obviously not my child, secondly, it’s clear I’ve had no influence on her life whatsoever.
That’s when I knew. That’s when I realised I hadn’t suddenly become a really talented parent. Her love of food has nothing to do with me because I would never encourage the presence of filth on my child’s plate. This is just how she is.
Kids are what they are. They’re eaters or they’re not. They’re sleepers or they’re small torture machines. It’s not your skill, your patient life lessons, your calm demeanour or your ability to strong-arm an infant. You didn’t succeed and you didn’t fail. You just had a kid. And just quietly, I think they’re going to screw with you for years to come.
Do you have an eater or a sleeper? Do you have one of each?
This is a sponsored post for Organix but my experience is 100% real (and thanks to my picky eater, traumatic)
Organix is a new baby food brand in Australia and is now available at Coles and Woolworths.
All Organix foods come with a No Junk Promise so you know there’s no garbage ingredients you need to worry about.