How to Annoy Your Children 101

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Let’s face it, not one parent would honestly say that parenting is easy. There are easy babies, well-behaved children and sensible teenagers, but it is never, ever “easy”. So we’re always open to any kind of parenting tips we can get (except from our mothers). Even when those tips actually take a major pee pee out of our kids, or should I say especially when they do?

Fussy Freya by Katharine Quarmby and Piet Grobler (illustrator) has a wicked sense of humour that most parents, who don’t take themselves too seriously, would enjoy cackling to. I know I did at my daughter’s expense. We have all been there when a favourite food suddenly lands up on the floor with a great big scrunched up face to go with it. Reason? Exercising authority, seeing how far they can push your buttons, making a lovely mess or any other reason. No, grandma’s “it’s just a phase” phrase does not help at all when you’re worried about your child’s caloric intake of healthy foods, not lollies grandma!

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Iris, who was an excellent eater, developed her finicky behaviour a few months ago. She has perfected it to the point of rolling her eyes at me, frowning terribly, crossing her arms and stating “I don’t want.” Her latest favourite addition to her repertoire is to push herself and her high chair away from the table. It takes a lot of storytelling, song-singing and other distractive cajoling to get her to finally recognise her hunger and that she actually likes the food she’s been served.

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So it was with Freya and with visions of her daughter wasting away, Freya’s mum turns to a most unlikely source of help – grandma.

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Unlike most sweet-toting unruly grandmas, this one is deliciously diabolical in her unorthodox way of tackling sudden food fussiness.

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She and her accomplice (grandpa), present Freya with an array of disgusting, hair curdling concoctions.

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Freya scurries nauseously back to her parental home eager to scoff the “normal” food she’s always had.

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And whenever she even thinks about turning her little nose up at her dinner, she’s threatened with grandma’s ingenious culinary repertoire and that nose stays decidedly down in the food she’s been given.

The only tricky bit of this method is actually having those dishes to scare your children with. Now where can I get a tiny elephant to fit on a dish?

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