Anyone who has read anything I have written before knows the problems I have getting M to try something new to eat. It can be quite frustrating. While I am luckier than a lot of parents of children that are fussy eaters, that isn’t anymore comforting when you find something you think he will enjoy and he wont even try it. I have lost it a few times at this, even though I know I shouldn’t!
Lunches are my biggest headache – tea time is easier because there are enough main meals he will eat to keep the rest of the family interested. Give M a sandwich and if it has anything but ham in it and he will not even touch it. He doesn’t eat raw cheese – in fact only eats it on pizza and that because I told him my Dad would only eat cooked cheese and like him didn’t like it raw, otherwise I think he would have made up his mind not to eat it cooked! When he does have a sandwich, it has to be decomposed to its base elements. He will then eat the ham, lick the mayo off the bread – he doesn’t like butter unless its melted on toast, and then he will eat the bread. It isn’t pleasant to watch and makes you wonder why you bothered to make it in the first place, but give him a plate with it all separate and he gets quite huffy!
For the first two years at school, M would not stay at lunchtime, and I had to bring him home. It was often suggested to him that staying would be fun as he would get to play with his friends – the argument fell down there as he tends to play alone. Different teachers tried different things to persuade him – I do believe they thought it was my decision to take him home, and not his, but they soon saw the panic attacks even suggesting it caused. It was agreed that when D started school, it might encourage M to stay so it was left. When M went into the third year, the school started a lunchtime Lego club, and he was invited to join. It meant he would be supervised over the lunchtime. He wanted to go, and we discussed what he would like in his lunchbox. This worked well for a start. He stayed at school no problem, we were convinced a corner had been turned, and when they started a second day for the club, he was happy to stay. Then the lunch bags started coming home with only his sweetie eaten out of it. With nobody supervising, and reminding him that he had to eat, he just wasn’t doing it. He had other places to be and therefore forgot to eat. We spoke to him and the school, and he was threatened with not being allowed to go to Lego club unless he had eaten. It did the trick to a point and he was actually taking something. As he went into the present school year, he decided he would stay at school 4 days. Totally his decision. I was totally made up for him. The problem though came from the school allows his year and above to eat their food outside and not in the lunch hall, and it became easy again for him not eat. Some days his lunchbox was coming home totally empty – not even the spoon for his yoghurt in there, so my only thought was the bag was being emptied directly into the bin. We again spoke to the school, and were told he could go into the additional needs classroom to eat his lunch, as it was an area that had a teacher present, and is a safe hub for any child who needs it. We told M that the teacher expected to see him – it was easier than telling him it was an option, of a lunchtime. Much to our surprise he was over the moon. He sees this teacher for additional help during the week, and she was one of his P1 teachers so he knows her, and respects her. He actually told me he loves having lunch with her! What a huge corner to have turned for him. He still insists on coming home for lunch on a Monday, but home one day a week is so different from just staying one day this time last year.
His pack lunch is not what I would call healthy. I spoke to the former deputy head about this and said I don’t know what to put in there because of his fussiness. She said not to worry about it, as eating something was better than nothing and as he got used to being at school then maybe it could be looked at then. In his bag, he has a couple of slices of ham, a box of raisins, a yoghurt, a cake, and sweeties, with orange juice to drink.
Last week, an American friend of mine sent me a recipe for Pretzel buns, knowing I loved baking bread. I made them, and they didn’t last long. They actually tasted like a bread pretzel. Now, I know that sounds silly, but I think you may agree with me about the number of things you make with preconceived ideas about the taste and it doesn’t live up to it. These though were loved by everyone. I made a second batch the next day, and asked M if he would like one in his lunch bag. To my surprise – usually the idea of anything new in his bag will get a panicked reaction – he was really enthusiastic, and asked for them again. I have therefore just made a third batch so he will have them again this week.
12 fl oz warm water
1 tab honey
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2lb 4oz strong flour
1 tsp salt
2 floz oil
Start the yeast in the warm water with the honey. Leave to foam for about 10 minutes.
Mix everything together and knead for about 10 minutes.
It’s a sticky dough but should come together.
Leave to rise for about an hour.
In the largest pan possible boil some water, and add a handful of bicarbonate of soda.
Oil your work surface ( it is better than flouring it as it wont tough the dough), and turn out your knocked back dough.
Shape are require – I tried to make pretzel shapes and gave up and went for normal buns!
Put in the boiling water for 30 seconds on each side – do just a couple at a time – and remove with a slated spoon.
Put on a greased baking sheet.
Egg glaze and sprinkle with salt.
Bake at 200c for 15 minutes.
I use low sodium salt but for an authentic look, use rock salt.
They are light but chewy.
I am just hoping his enjoyment of these continues as it gives him something more filling which might help his afternoon concentration.
Time will tell.