Linda Hobbis & The Potato of Doom

Behold the marvel that is my culinary expertise. Hmm. We are in the middle of the famous fussy eating phase, particularly with Ieuan who, if it isn’t i) bread, ii) baked beans or iii) banana, is pretty loathe to try a food beginning with any other letter.

fussy eating phase - baked potato in the shape of a hedgehog

Behold the marvel that is my Hedgehog Baked Potato!

The sweaty panic that overtakes mothers at the thought of their veggie hating offspring appearing on “Freaky Eaters” and then, as an obvious progression, “Embarrassing Bodies” is grim.

I have read numerous parenting books and the fussy eating phase features in many of them.  But I find myself inconsistently chopping and changing between those plans which promise the greatest success in the shortest time.

I think this is a strategy which many mothers, whether currently employed or on a childcare sabbatical as I am, think will work. It is the madness of business logic applied to small children. Let’s motivate them and reward them. Let’s team build and yomp across the moors with home-made blueberry muffins!

I get very confused. Do I reheat discarded meals until they eat them? Do I deny them anything else until they fall like Victorian urchins on the broccoli and carrots? Do I send them to bed hungry? The tendency of small children to deny themselves what we adults would consider one of life’s greatest pleasures (food!) in order to assert control never fails to baffle me.

Our kids don’t fill up on sweets, chocolates or fizzy drinks. They have the odd biscuit and packets of crisps are shared. Our biggest failing is probably the addition of milkshake powder to milk in order to get them to drink it. We do eat quite a bit of cake, especially Jaffa Cakes and Welsh Cakes (recipe here) but in conservative quantities and only after at least a little of the main meal has been tried.

So in an attempt to up the ante regarding their veg intake, I spent over 40 minutes preparing potato hedgehogs (stop snickering).

My potato is one of the recipes from the inspiring book by Fiona Faulkner – “25 Foods Kids Hate …and how to get them eating 24” It’s Day 1 and as Fiona would say, you can’t give up. I’m also reading Kathryn Mewes “The 3 Day Nanny” which has a range of tailored plans for solving childcare dilemmas (sleep, eating, potty training, behaviour) for children up to around 6 years of age. Then there’s Jo Frost’s “Confident Toddler Care“, another well-thumbed tome.

On the subject of potatoes, by the way, you’ll find more tips on how to get the best out of them – even the green sprouty ones – in this post – Save Our Spuds!

I find myself going round in circles and trying various approaches to all of which the children seem immune. The only person who ends up having a tantrum I’m afraid to say is me! I spend the rest of the evening muttering to myself like the first, mad Mrs Rochester and refusing to play whilst the children canter happily about, oblivious to Joan of Arc in the kitchen.

I’m resolving to take the bull by the horns and ‘woman up’. I’m determined to instil in my kids a love of food and an appreciation of nutrition. I don’t want them to treat sweet foods as a reward or a comfort (a bit of a tall order for most of us, that one!).

If there is a plan that you have used or you have a secret ‘never fail approach” please leave me a comment! In the meantime, at least this cooking practice should improve my rather rusty skills.

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  1. Charlotte Qualter
    22 June, 2015 / 9:42 am

    oh my your potato did make me chuckle brings back many a memory of the seamless battle of trying to get my children to eat and the monumental lengths i would go to, to try and make it happen!!!!!

  2. squeakymom
    30 August, 2012 / 5:44 am

    I wish I knew. Squeaky won't eat veg at all (she doesn't realise that tomato soup, tomato sauce, and the topping on pizza are all made of tomatoes), and she only eats certain fruits, unless they're in squeezy pouches. The girl is a carbosaurus.

  3. 29 August, 2012 / 9:03 pm

    have you tried getting him to help you make pizza and decorating the top with a smiley face

    its hard getting kids to eat veg, my son will eat carrots, broccoli, peppers and cucumber but not much else and hes 15!

  4. Joanne Blunt
    29 August, 2012 / 7:04 pm

    I love your potato! I'd eat it 🙂
    I haven't got much advice except that mine all developed a hatred of vegetable when they were toddlers, but they all grew out of it. My 6 year old now loves veg, but I do struggle to get him to eat most meat. You can't have it all I suppose 😀

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