The Spud has his appetite back. It’s hard to imagine my little larded roastie suffering from a desire not to eat but there he was, mouth clamped firmly shut refusing all food, even scrambled eggs which the spud NEVER refuses.
First we had the cold and then croup and then flu and then no Papa Frog for 5 days then a molar and then jet lag and then another cold and no Papa Frog for another 7 days and then walking and then another molar and then more jet lag and then another molar and then a cold and then another molar - and all over a 3 week period. In this three weeks he’s had 3 colds, cut 4 molars, learned to walk, gone to Canada, missed his Dad and been very sick. He was becoming extraordinarily un-spud-like – one might even have used the word 'lithe' – and I got a cross-channel bollocking from Grandmère on the subject because while French Women Don’t Get Fat, apparently French babies are supposed to be rolling in the stuff.
Anyway, now that the Spud has surmounted all his trials and unglued himself from his father’s trouser legs, he has re-discovered the joy of food. Pasta, potatoes, fish fingers, scrambled eggs, baby chilli, sandwiches, bananas, chicken, parsnips, peas, the lot. Further, he’s decided that being fed is for babies and since, according to one of the hundreds of toy catalogues that seem to have gotten my name on their envelopes he is no longer a baby but a ‘wobbler walker’, he insists on feeding himself.
This isn’t quite the disaster that I would have imagined it to be. Yes, he is only 14 months old and hasn’t got what one would call total (or even, sometimes, partial) control of his digits but he also hates to be messy. This is a child who will spend three minutes trying to lick a bit of food off his chin rather then let me just wipe it off. So, I can leave him parked in front of his dinner and he normally manages to get three quarters of it into him, which is highly gratifying given the care and attention I lavish on his gastronomic needs.
The other quarter, however, goes into the cat. This is not because Sammy is up on the table demanding a tithe with his claws out, or because the spud only has a 75% food-to-mouth success ratio. No, this is because the spud adores Sammy and has cottoned on to the fact that Sammy hangs around waiting for food to drop – so he feeds him. There we were yesterday, the spud stabbing away at the eggs with his baby fork and wrangling it to his mouth, me standing back adoringly thinking all sorts of insipid Motherhood things about how big and clever my son is when he put down the fork, grabbed a handful of egg, leaned back in his chair, waited for Sammy to look up and laconically tossed him the eggs. Then, he calmly resumed feeding himself with a new rhythm – two mouthfuls for the spud, one for Sammy.
This naturally made Sammy very happy, as he has a thyroid problem and basically needs his own fridge to get him through the day. This made the spud happy because he was getting Sammy’s undiluted attention rather then seeing nothing but a fuzzy little cat-butt disappearing from under his grasping fingers.
The only trouble here is that we are trying to break our deaf, 16-year-old rescue cat from what is likely the begging habit of a lifetime and he already sees the spud as a source of extra meals. I say ‘we’ however the Frog is also feeding the cat off his plate so I suspect, as in many things these days, like insisting the spud go directly to bed after his book and not play on the floor with his father for another hour, I am alone.
Still, he’s eating again and when he sits on the floor with his little belly out he looks like my very own laughing baby Buddha. I hope Grandmère will be happy. Now excuse me, I have to run out and buy cat food.