This one easy trick that makes you look like a terrible parent in public.

This afternoon, on our way home to put Frankie down for a nap, we ducked into a cafe to grab some lunch. The place was packed, but luckily one table was free. We sat down and ordered. Trish then noticed Frankie had done a poo and whisked her off to the dunnies for a quick change in time for our food to arrive. No big deal.

Everything was going swimmingly from that point. The drinks were good, the food was good, life was good. Not even the love child of Nostradamus and a Bulgarian gypsy fortune teller could’ve seen the stick heading for the spokes of our proverbial wheel.

And then it happened. Frankie went red. Her face scrunched, grunting like a gold medal weightlifter deep in the clinch. All signs indicated she had another shit on deck. Already? How can that be? Well that can be because this was no ordinary poo, as all of a sudden, like the town crier announcing that the King was dead, Frankie stood up on her chair and screamed at the top of her lungs:

“POOOO! I POO! I POO! I POO! I POO! I POOOOOO!”

The sudden severity of the declaration she’d crapped her dacks caught us both by such surprise that we started pissing ourselves laughing. I mean what else can you do? The problem was that there was a reason she was so distressed. It was obviously a bit of a ‘bad poo’ that’d caused some serious devastation down there. I can only imagine it must’ve been something like the morning after I put way too much habanero sauce on my burrito.

To the onlookers in a packed-to-capacity cafe, their quiet Saturday arvo avo smash and chai lattes were suddenly disrupted by a screaming, crying toddler in complete meltdown. Being laughed at by her parents to the somewhat discordant soundtrack of “I POO! I POO! I POOOOOOOO!”

I felt like I was in a panopticon. A perimeter of judging eyes staring me down. Like a skinhead wandering through a tour group at Anne Frank’s house. The woman opposite us looked at me with a sneer as potent as the time her son Pythagoras brought home a friend who went to public school.

There was only one thing to do at this point, really.

“I’ll go fix up the bill.”

Look At Me, I’m The Captain Now

When it comes to food, my wife and I are polar opposites.

Me, I eat pretty much anything and everything. Often dousing food in spices and chilli. The kitchen is always armed with a variety of exotic condiments, and I even keep a bottle of emergency hot sauce at work. My wife, on the other hand, thought that a spring roll was a strange mystical rarity when I first met her, and suffers from the classic first world syndrome of being surrounded by a plethora of food while remaining paralysingly unable to decide what to eat.

This is an all too common conversation I’m made to endure:

“What do you want to eat?”

“I don’t mind. You choose.”

“Ok… what about pizza?”

“I don’t really feel like pizza.”

“Chinese?”

“Hmmm..nah.”

“Mexican?”

“Don’t want Mexican.”

“Well what do you feel like then?”

“I don’t care, whatever.”

And this goes on and on ad nauseum, until I reach the point of wanting to put my head through a double paned window.

So, given the disparity between our culinary intuitions, I was anxious to see whose tastebuds Frankie had inherited.

While innate palates and appetites are up for deliberation, one attribute that was never going to come into question was dogged stubbornness. Something we both have in spades, and given the universe’s wicked sense of humour, was always going to be passed on to our spawn.

You see, Frankie is not overly interested in being ‘fed’. She wants to do it herself. ‘Stop waving that piece of pumpkin in my face and just put it in my hand, you cretin. And that spoon, pass it here and watch me lay siege to the kitchen by hurling flaming boulders of avocado like a medieval catapult.’

And don’t even bother with the old tried and true ‘here comes the aeroplane’ trick, as it most certainly is not welcome inside her airspace. Frankie will commandeer that shit within seconds.

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Getting the aeroplane into the hangar, per se, is easy enough, as long as Frankie is in control. From there, things get a little bit tricky. She’s happy to furiously mung away with her one lonely tooth, like a Collingwood supporter at an all-you-can-eat buffet, but should a stray piece break off…then the panic sets in.

“WHAT THE HELL DO I DO NOW?”

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Thus begins the titanic struggle that only ends in gagging, spitting or spewing. Sometimes a bit of all three. She hasn’t quite got the whole chewing and swallowing thing down yet, but we’ll get there eventually. At least she seems game enough to have a taste of anything we’ve given her, meaning she’s already Marco Pierre White compared to her mother.

We haven’t tried anything outrageous or torturous yet, like the cliched but amusing ‘give a baby some lemon’ maneuver, but food is definitely going to be a fun adventure as she continues to get her little head around it. So far, chicken seems to be the runaway favourite, so we most certainly do not have a vegetarian on our hands. The only downside has been her affinity for bananas. My one weakness. My dietary kryptonite.

To leave on a light note, one of her favourite things to do, given that swallowing is still a foreign concept, is blissfully sit in her high chair with strings of food dangling from her mouth. It’s hilarious.

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There’s never a dull day.