If biting the bruises out of bananas is not the pinnacle of maternal love, I don’t know what is. If you’ve ever eaten the debris out of the carseat because you couldn’t face carrying it in your hand, you’ll know this – motherhood turns you into a human dustbin.
Minesweeping kids’ teatime plates is a commonplace of motherhood and the bane of many a post-baby body blitz. "I just can't stand waste," you mumble, through a mouthful of ice cold potato waffle. Hey, it saves scraping stuff in the bin and the inevitable loss of a precious baby fork that you then have to rifle through the mushy Cheerios and double-bagged nappies for.
The consenting, or Instagrammable, food share
What could be cuter than mother and baby chomping their way to the middle of the same strand of spaghetti, ending this eminently vid-worthy experience with a delicious kiss? The closest I’ve got to this is sharing a breadstick, which ended in a soggy mess, but was cute nonetheless. And then there's the food that baby wants to feed you, like their last bit of Weetabix, which you are powerless to resist - it seems a little hypocritical since you are always trying to shove food in their mouths, poor lambs.
The human food prep machine
Most commonly seen in the car, this includes biting the bruises out of bananas, and eating all the skin off an apple to satisfy the back-seat partial fruit-lover. Other examples include, eating the crusts off the sandwiches, eating the biscuit around the jam in a jammie dodger (not really a hardship, that one) and eating the pith of bits of satsuma (well fiddly!).
But what about the unsung side of motherly mastication?
The regurge recipient
Sometimes (too often!), there just isn’t a bin around when you need one. Like when your child wants to spit something out. We were on our way to the car yesterday when my youngest decided he didn’t like Smarties after all, and spat all seven of them out into my swiftly-proferred hand. There they lay, their now-softened, not-as-bright-as-in-my-day shells cracked like my detergent knuckles, in a pool of sugary drool that was starting to drip through my fingers. The baby wipes were deep in the changing bag, I was holding onto the littlest on his scooter with the other hand, the other two boys were shooting ahead, we were in a massive hurry and I had to push the buggy too. I did the only thing I could do in the circumstances – reader, I ate them.
Out of the mouth of babes
As such occasions go, it was one of the more pleasurable. I’ve eaten all sorts from the maws of my children – spit-balled-up Marmite sandwiches, too-large mouthfuls of ice-cream, naked Maltesers. With the chocolate all sucked off, surely these last are practically a dieter’s dream?
Regurgitated food is not the sole preserve of mothers and baby blackbirds, though. My friend once cooked a roast for us. My (then, only) son, aged about two, was delighted with his first taste of roast pork. Five minutes later he was still chewing, his eyes were beginning to bulge, and I gently removed it from his tired jaws. Whereupon my friend’s husband leant over and ate the rejected delicacy. “Mmm, tender,’ he said. One man’s gross is another’s gourmet, it seems.
Surely I’m not the only one who has automatically licked their chocolatey finger, before recalling the leaky nappy you just changed?