Whoever coined the phrase “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” was right. It starts at birth. Mothers provide food right from the get-go, so little boys associate women with food. This might sound rather old-fashioned or chauvinistic, but breasts give nourishment.
As early as age one, my son could charm female wait staff. He had an innate knowledge that they served food and would put on his best smile and even — gasp — flirt! I would have to burst the bubble for the blushing gal and explain, “He’s behaving this way because he knows you’re going to bring him food.”
My son hated meat, except for chicken. And I couldn’t serve chicken every night. He’d sniff at the meat on his plate and ask, “What’s this?” The whole family would answer in unison — “Chicken!” Another trick we employed was the ‘just one more bite’ game and soon his plate was empty! We were able to pull that off for about six years before he caught on.
My grandson Liam loves food. He smiles sweetly, raises his eyebrows and, with a twinkle in his eye, lays a hand on my arm and asks, “Nana? Nack, Mease.” Translation — Nana, a snack please?
I’ve seen my offspring go from greedily sucking back bottles, to being open-mouthed baby birds awaiting the next spoonful of food.
It’s fun watching them try new foods. Their reactions vary. It could be a shudder, or they just might spit it out. Liam sometimes responds with the ultimate eyeball roll of ecstasy. Strawberries will bring on that reaction.
Liam immediately goes into my backpack when I arrive because he’s figured out that Nana brings treats. The first treats were applesauce, pronounced by him as assasauce, sounding like a swear word.
Of course applesauce is sweet in nature, made with apples, possible mixed with various nectarous fruits. We later graduated to Lemon Pie puddings, which he expected to also be sweet. With the first taste Liam shuddered and made a scrunchy face. His eyes closed tight for a moment. And then he opened his mouth for more.
At two years old, Liam has a lusty appetite. He finishes his lunch with relish and charmingly smiles, clasps his chubby hands together and asks, “Nana share?” as he covetously eyes my cheese sandwich. I respond with, “Magic word?” His eyes light up, “Mease!” and there goes half my lunch, followed by a touch of his cup to mine as he exclaims, “Cheers!”
Liam and I sing the ‘Yummy, yummy I have peas in my tummy” song, which makes him giggle and soon the peas are gone! Though sometimes food ends up hidden in children’s noses, to be blown into a tissue, or perhaps having to be picked out at the emergency room of the local hospital.
Excursions outside the home often have Liam asking, “Nana? Bakery? Doughnuts? Muffins?” When I say yes, he licks his lips in anticipation. I order one apple fritter for sharing. He pipes up, “Nana? One for Papa?” Bats his long lashes and soon we’re buying two. I know he’ll entice Papa into sharing.
Now, doughnuts bring on a different response. He closes his eyes and pops a piece in his mouth and savours the taste. He’s in doughnut delirium. The eyeballs roll heavenward as he utters a drawn out, “Mmmmmm . . .”
When asked what he wanted for his birthday, Liam’s answer was a resounding, “A doughnut!” I laugh and think — out of the mouths of babes.