My son Caleb does NOT like milk. Getting him to drink 100 mL of the stuff is harder than staying off Facebook for a month; or swearing off chocolate forever; or – you get the picture! I’ve tried cow’s milk, goat’s milk, soy milk, rice milk... Poetic justice, really, if you consider what a pain in the bottom I was when it came to drinking milk as a child. I can clearly remember it – and my cousins take every opportunity to make sure I don’t forget my milk misdemeanours.
4pm. The ordeal would begin once I got home from primary school. My Nana Evelyn would make my cup of milk with chocolate Complan (remember that?). My cousins and I would sit around the dining table with said cups of milk before us and maybe some biscuits to munch on. They would gulp down their milk in two ticks and rush off to their fun and games. My cup sat there, filled to the brim. “Hurry up and finish your milk so you can go out to play,” urged Nana.
4:30pm. My uncle Chris would return from his shift-work job. He’d take my cup into the kitchen to re-heat it on the stove. Remember, this was in the 1980s, so there was no microwave. The milk cup was brought back to me, and I was forced to take a sip. A skin of cream would start to form on the top. The sight of a skin forming over milk gives me goosebumps to this day...
5pm. My dad would come home from work. I knew I was in trouble the minute I heard the roar of his Yezdi motorbike in the lane. “Alison!” he would admonish, “You still haven’t finished your milk.” “There’s cream in it! Yuck!” I’d protest. Milk would be taken back into the kitchen to be strained, re-heated and brought back before me. I’d take a couple of sips to feign effort while dad had his cuppa.
5:30pm. Since this was my Nana’s house, we’d always have a relative or two popping by to say hello to her. Everyone would be sitting around the table, sipping tea, sharing a yarn or two, having a chuckle... And there I was, entranced by the chit-chat – without any milk going down.
6pm. Time for my mum to get back home on the contract bus. “Baby,” she would exclaim, “why haven’t you finished your milk yet?” “It’s cold!” I’d grumble, “I don’t want any more.” By then, if I’d finished 3/4ths of the cup, it was considered an achievement. Gold star behaviour even.
Were you a fussy eater as a child? What food/drink issues did you have? What about your kids? What clever tricks (or forms of bribery!) do you use to get them to comply?