I have a confession to make.
A deep, dark confession.
Today I gave my son a piece of Rocky Road.
It was just a tiny piece. OK, two tiny pieces. No, three. But they were no more than bite-sized. He had three bites of Rocky Road. He is eighteen months old. Am I a bad mother?
I thought he wouldn’t like them. I thought he would taste it, savour it for a moment and then spit it out with a look of disgust. That’s what he does with most new foods, after all. Instead, he tasted it, savoured it, murmured a sound of overwhelming approval, and asked for more. Yes, he asked for more. Like a pre-verbal Oliver Twist communicating solely through hand gestures.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I started off with such good intentions. I had all the weaning books, I made all the recipes. I dutifully perused the fruit and vegetable aisle looking for new and interesting tastes for him; a selection of seasonal red berries, a mango here, a passionfruit there (a word of advice: Don’t bother giving an eight month old passionfruit. They rarely appreciate it, and the mess is biblical). Sometimes he would try them out, squeezing strawberries so hard that he shook, the juice oozing out of his little fists. Other times he would turn his head away and purse his lips, indicating that no Mummy, there would be no green beans today, or ever, thank you very much.
The thing that never wavered was my resolve. I had all the data. Fruit drinks caused tooth decay, chocolate was for adults, a solitary slurp of ice cream was the start of a slippery slope that would inevitably end up with my darling child being lifted out of his bedroom with a crane and transported to hospital in one of those extra-large ambulances in the kind of scenario you see in Jeremy Kyle-fronted Channel 5 documentaries with tabloid names like “Bodyshock: Britain’s Fattest Man.”
Then Piglet turned one. A bit of Sainsbury’s finest birthday cake was sourced, and the rest, as they say, is history. It wasn’t even a homemade cake.
A Sunday treat here and there, a little bit of ice cream and maybe the apple bits from an apple pie…
A bite of a cookie every now and then, as and when he requests it…..
And now Rocky Road. A veritable feast of marshmallow, biscuit and chocolate all wrapped up in a tantalising but lethal package.
I knew that sooner or later this day would be upon us. He is onto me. He knows I eat cake, and cookies, and chocolate, and he knows that they are good. He knows what a cup of tea is, and has added it to his expanding repertoire of known vocabulary. He even dipped his finger in the dregs of a cup of lukewarm tea the other day, swirled it around, and tried a bit. How long now before he is putting in his drinks order, and it’s a large latte? And while I’m at it, I should probably hide that bottle of wine in a locked cupboard somewhere very, very high up. I am now faced with a stark choice. I either accept that my control over his diet is loosening, and give in to packets of Wotsits eaten inside the shopping trolley before reaching the till, or I can give up all unhealthy food for the rest of my life, and hope he follows my saintly example.
Which will it be?