There’s Audrey. Covered in hummus. I know a lot of people like showcasing their messy child pictures, but I’m not one of them. No, that picture is there only to illustrate an important point:
I find my daughter’s eating habits to be foul and repulsive.
Now before you get all huffy, declaring my opinion to be more than harsh, let me assure you that I don’t hold it against her. I don’t shame her or yell at her. She’s a 2-year-old and 2-year-olds are gross. It’s okay. She’ll grow out of it. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be horrified by it all. Hell, I’d rather watch “The Human Centipede” on a permanent loop in slow motion than see her covered in thick, slimy, delicious Sabra hummus. But instead of dealing with an inevitable case of “Dinner Time PTSD” in the future, I’m confronting my horror directly by presenting you, my lucky readers, with Audrey’s Top Ten Most Disgusting Eating Habits.
I hope you’ve eaten your ginger!
10. She eats from the middle. Audrey doesn’t take bites from the edge like normal, sane people. No, she uses her tongue to burrow a hole right into the middle of whatever she’s eating, whether it’s a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a slice of pizza. It’s like there’s an Alien chestburster at the dinner table every night. Just lovely.
9. She pulls her food apart mercilessly. If she’s not burrowing a hole in the center of her food, she’s pulling it apart to perform a close inspection. A recent example of this involved one very unlucky quesadilla. She pulled the halves apart and proceeded to squeeze the cheese between her fingers, horrifying other delicious quesadillas far and wide. (I won’t even tell you what she did with the beans on the side. Just…awful.)
8. She picks certain ingredients out of her food and flings them through the air. Let’s go back to the quesadilla example. Here she decided that, for once, she wasn’t going to eat chicken. So she pulled out all the little bits of shredded chicken, one by one. And those bits that stuck to her hands due to all the melty cheese? She flung those off into the ether, manners be damned. Have you had the pleasure of sitting through a chicken shower? I have.
7. She squeezes grapes to death and subsequently drinks their vital fluids off her plate. I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.
6. She eats yogurt, applesauce, and other such slippery foodstuffs with her hands. Who needs an unwieldy utensil like a spoon when you have God’s utensil instead? Two of them to boot! At least I can more clearly see the logic in place here.
5. She smears. Everything on anything. One day I took Audrey out to lunch with some friends. I was enjoying their company and admittedly not keeping as close an eye on her as I should have. I then heard, “Umm, Kent? You might want to…” I turned and saw a pizza slice where my daughter’s face should be. But that wasn’t enough. She smeared it up, down, and all around too. In other words, Public Pizza Sauce Baby Face. This smeary goodness doesn’t start and stop with pizza either. Oh no, it’s also good with ketchup, cheese, mushed up berries, potatoes, and anything else you place in front of her. Charming!
4. She frequently spits out food. Sometimes she spits it out into the trash—“Well, thank you!”—and sometimes she spits it out onto the floor—“Wha? Bwah? Huh? Why?”—but no matter where she does it, it’s not exactly material for the most precious of family time memories.
3. She eats the spat out food. The frequency of which is not bankable, but Audrey does eat her spat out food more often than I would care to admit. And it’s disgusting. Considering we’re only at the third most foul thing she does with food, just imagine what’s coming up next!
2. She eats the cat’s food. She knows it’s for the cats. She knows it’s not for her. She doesn’t even seem to really enjoy it, probably because she was just jumping in it barefoot a few moments prior. But hey, it’s there!
1. She eats old, dirty food off her chair and the floor too. Anyone that has a toddler knows that half of the food ends up on the floor. My cats enjoy this quality of Audrey’s quite a bit. My wife and I? Not so much. But I can’t vacuum six times a day, you know, and therefore there’s always good odds that there’s a smushed up blueberry on the floor, or maybe a crusty old piece of hair-encrusted pasta. Each of which is delicious to a 2-year-old. Don’t ask me why. I just see her chewing when she shouldn’t be. Along with that I-know-I’m-doing-something-bad face. By the time I’m digging around in there to get the shriveled up pea out of her mouth, it’s gone.
I don’t do well with messes. You’ve probably guessed that by now. I tend to shy away from paint time, pee on the floor, and yes, watching Audrey eat. When she’s getting particularly nasty with her food I simply look away instead of managing it directly. It’s cowardly to be sure. But might it actually be a good thing that toddlers such as her eat this way? Some people believe so and that, frankly, is comforting. I’d much rather go through this phase in her live believing that her bad manners are really a way of learning, as opposed to her simply being a piggish little piggy.
But, nevertheless, she is still a piggish little piggy. And I will continue to be grossed out by it every step of the way.