This is my first post in this blog – in fact, it’s also my first attempt at blogging, so you may need to bear with me a little. I have given a very rough sketch of my family in the ‘About this blog’ section above, but I thought it would be a good idea to start by writing a little more about them, or, more specifically, about my two children.

Dearest Son is four years old, soon to be turning five, and is due to start ‘Big School’ in September. It will be interesting (though also quite anxiety-inducing) for me to see how he copes with this, particularly with regard to two big challenges: toileting and school dinners. In short, Dearest Son struggles with undiagnosed dyspraxia, possible autism, and generalised anxiety. Toileting is one huge source of anxiety for him, which I won’t go into here; mealtimes are another.

It’s not that he’s fussy as such; he’ll eat most vegetables at least, although he’s not so keen on meat, especially if it involves chewing. It’s not just that he’s the world’s slowest eater, and could win awards for procrastinating and getting distracted. The crux of the matter seems to be that he just doesn’t see the point in eating (even if he was whining about being hungry the whole time dinner was being prepared). He needs just the right amount of pressure, combined with bribery (“five more forkfuls and you can have pudding”) – but get the balance wrong, use a little too much pressure, and he’ll either have a huge temper tantrum or just shut down completely, clam right up, leave the table and refuse to communicate.

Oh, and he’s allergic to apple, of all the things to be allergic to. At least, it’s not a medically confirmed allergy, but if he eats anything containing apple or apple juice, it has dire consequences in the rear department, if you know what I mean. And guess what is the base ingredient of practically every ‘healthy’ snack/drink marketed at children? Yup, you guessed it.

Then there’s Darling Daughter, who at barely six months of age is the exact opposite of her brother. She lives to eat. The only times she’s happy are when she’s eating or being made a fuss of, or preferably both at once. The problem is that she won’t let me put her down, which makes preparing meals difficult and has forced me to lean toward quick-to-prepare meals.

Until recently, she was simply breastfed with a supplementary bottle in the evenings. The downside of this was that she screamed the whole way through our mealtimes, as if to say, “How dare you all be eating when I’m not?” Since we started Baby-Led Weaning a few weeks ago, she’s been much happier, and seems to be really getting the hang of grasping, self-feeding and chewing. We’re hoping that this will also result in her being less fussy over textures than her brother is.

So, that’s us. Two mildly stressed parents (sometimes more than mildly), and two beautiful if quirky children. I hope you enjoy coming on this mealtime journey with us – don’t forget your earplugs, a cover-all waterproof, and your sense of humour!