Hurry! There’s a teeny tiny window of opportunity, somewhere between that first teaspoon of pureed butternut squash and their first Happy Meal when your little treasure will enable you to be an Annoying Parent With The Child That Eats Everything (APWTCTEE for short).
It’s your moment, so enjoy it. Assume your smuggest expression as you hand over the kohlrabi beets and pomegranate in a public place and await the acclaim as your child obligingly opens their not-yet-exclusively-a-cake-hole to receive it.
Don’t waste a second! They won’t voluntarily consume this much vitamin-tastic leafy, life-giving goodness again until they’re 25 and doing a beach body detox. Instead, the average Irish child will only consume 10 things for the next fifteen years. This is the official list, which of course the Department of Health doesn’t want you to see:
1. ‘Protein’ disguised under a heavy coating of orange breadcrumbs
2. Pasta, preferably overcooked in shapes with a TV tie-in
3. Minced meat, in slighly varying forms- any vegetably additions swiftly removed.
4. Processed pig
6. Spuds in any form
7. Rice cakes (the texture is appealingly unfoodish)
9. An apple- preferably skinned and sliced into elegant crescents
10. A random vegetable from the APWTCTEE phase – purple sprouting broccoli, edamame or kelp to keep you guessing
There are entire industries set up to give parents hope that all is not lost and whole careers built on these unrealistic hopes– ask Jools Oliver or Annabel Karmel. But really, sushi – the perfect food for your 5 year old? Pots of chopped organic fruit instead of a trough of junk at birthday parties? Good luck with that.
Sure, there’ll be that time Junior works his way through a stash of duck pancakes, earning him the sobriquet of Oriental Food Lover, but if you’re honest, in time you’ll look back and admit he hasn’t had so much as a pot noodle since. His lunchbox is a testament to immutability, with an unchanging lineup of hang sangers, juicebox and apple. Those carrot sticks you snuck in? They’ll be coming home. As sure as eggs is eggs.