As a mother, a parent, for the most part I think I do a pretty good job. On occasions there are things I wish I'd given more consideration to in advance, in terms of really thinking about how I would tackle a particular parenting issue, before I was in the midst of that very issue, but overall there isn't a lot of angst.
There is one thing, however, that has always been of issue but lately has escalated to a higher level of frustration, disappointment and now, hurt. It's food, particularly dinner time.
As a babe to about the age of 2 Ella was amazing and would eat everything in front of her, every single thing without question and seemed to enjoy it all. I don't know what happened at age 2, but from that point on what she would eat narrowed and narrowed and narrowed then with the arrival of Leila and then the two of them eating together, it's now at crisis point for me.
They don't like so many things and also the cliches hold true, I'll put extra effort into making something new that I think they'll really like, only to have it barely tasted.
Food, cooking, eating is a huge part of mine and Geoff's lives. We have a very diverse and rich diet, covering the globe in cuisine styles and every night it's something different and never dull. I feel so sad that the girls don't share in that.
Last week I was so fed up I asked Ella what I could do. They never relish their meals, get really excited or say yum and honestly, it's both frustrating and upsetting. We talked about it later on, just she and I and she told me that the food I make is boring to her and doesn't really interest her. It hurt, hearing her say that, like a knife to the chest and she felt soooo bad at the idea of upsetting me. As I said to her, she must always tell me what she thinks and it's up to me to deal with those words, not her to change them to what she thinks I'll like to hear. We agreed that she's old enough to be eating adult food and that I would cook to interest her and make largely for her what Geoff and I eat. I had narrowed their repertoire purely so I know their dinners would be eaten. The new idea of new food hasn't been a huge success.
Tonight, after pork fillet marinated in ginger, soy and plum sauce, served with an asian cauliflower dish we like and noodles, I'd had enough. We went back and forth tonight as this was "too sweet" and this "isn't really to my taste". Gosh, it's just torture to me, no pleasure involved at all however hard I try. Then Ella comes out with an absolute sucker punch "Somewhere in the world there are families sitting together, talking about their day and eating a delicious meal saying yum yum." I had to leave the table, go to my room and cry alone. Don't get me wrong, Ella isn't a mean child, so very far from it, but we were arguing with each other of sorts. That though, that absolutely cut me to the core, hence I'm here sharing when I should be doing a myriad of other tasks in the witching period.
A dear friend lost her father to cancer very recently and only last week we attended his memorial service. Whilst we know her very well, we aren't childhood friends, we've known each other only for the last 15 years, so I don't know her parents as I do others. At the memorial service both she and her two siblings spoke of their father and their childhoods and family lives. They had no television growing up, they talked. They are a very verbal family, politicially active, interested and interesting people who are passionate in conversation and debate. Hearing about the family dynamic throughout their lives was so moving to listen to, but now, as I sit wallowing, also so sad to me for myself.
I always imagined family meals so vividly for our family and reality it's so far from what I always dreamt of. We only get to have family dinner together one night a week, on Sundays, and although always fraught, I love it and the girls do too. The reality of our lives is that Geoff is rarely home before 7pm and never eats with the girls during the week. I feed the girls and then we eat again together later. I know this isn't uncommon but honestly, it's the thing I dislike most about our life. I dream of a life where we're all together every night for dinner and we can achieve at least a little of what others have and have had and that I've hoped for. For now I'm at a loss, I hate the angst, the stress, the dischord, I find it really, really upsetting.
I should buy a book, I do try new things, but I need motivation, fresh ideas, or failing that, stories of situations more challenging than my own. Please share.