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Caroline Verdon: ‘Call me weak willed but we’re on holiday. Let him eat chips’

Caroline Verdon's toddler, Arthur.
Caroline Verdon's toddler, Arthur.
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Go on holiday, they said. It’ll be relaxing, they said.

We’re currently two and a half hours into a toddler stand off over trying a piece of pear. I don’t quite know how we’ve ended up here but we are here and we can’t back down now.

At home, we all eat the same. We put dinner on top of the table and he picks what he wants and the less attention we give his eating the more things he willingly tries. He eats well. Sure, some days he’ll eat a lot of carbs but other days he’ll choose a plateful of broccoli. It all evens out. If we’re having dessert then he can have it regardless and sometimes he wants it, other times he says no. He’s so good at eating until he is full and then stopping, even if that means turning down ice cream. He’s a good eater and mealtimes are not at all stressful. On holiday though, it’s a different kettle of fish.

It’s an all inclusive and that seems to mean there is always the option of chips. He’s started to ask for chips for breakfast and was very disappointed to find out there weren’t any and even more disappointed to find out that there wasn’t even any mashed potato.

Eventually he opted for Weetabix and some sliced pear. Only once the pear hit his plate he decided he didn’t want it after all. Now he definitely likes pear. We asked him just to try a bit, as he had asked for it. He refused. We told him that was wasteful and that he needed to at least try a bit. I cut a slice in half and asked him to try that. He said no. Nearly three hours on and he is still saying no.

Given how chilled out meal times are at home, I’m not sure how we got into this but we’re knee deep and we’re not losing. Whatever losing is. I’m just uncomfortable that his choices this week haven’t been at all balanced. Why though? One week of chips isn’t going to change his life, is it?

I think it’s the pressure. Surrounded by other families you don’t want to look lax. I’m not skinny and that makes me feel judged for what’s on his plate. I feel like they’re all thinking that we only feed him chips at home. In reality, they’re not. In reality they’re too busy having their own battles. I know that really. But that doesn’t stop where we are right now. Nearly three hours into a battle.

My husband and I are both stubborn, and clearly Arthur has a double helping. His teenage years will no doubt be a struggle. I feel like we’ve tried everything. We tried telling him fruit and veg will help his muscles. Still no. We tried playing with his monkey and pretending monkey was eating pear. Still no. So we tried bribery.

We promised that if he tried what is less than a five pence piece sized piece of pear he could have an inflatable for the pool. No. We tried taking things away and currently his spotty ball, Fireman Sam jigsaw, rubber dinosaur and monkey are all sat in the cupboard. Still no.

We’ve told him we won’t be going out and playing in the swimming pool until he eats that tiny speck of pear which he blooming well likes anyway. Still no. It’s nearly lunchtime. There’s glorious sunshine outside and yet since breakfast we’ve been sat inside out sweaty hot apartment. We even had to tell house keeping not to bother (Lo siento, tenemos un nino travieso apparently means “sorry, we have a naughty boy” if you believe the Spanish Google translate). This is not how we wanted to spend our holiday. It’s hot, we arrived two days ago at five in the morning and Arthur’s body clock is shot. We’re also somewhere new with new experiences and so it’s no wonder he’s acting up. It’s just so hard as parents to know what to do in these situations. I just keep coming back to the fact the he actually even likes pear.

We’re now into the lunchtime rush. His colouring book has also gone into the cupboard and we’ve all had enough. Who are we punishing anyway? And why? We’re all miserable. Call me weak willed if you like but I’m not doing this anymore. We’re on holiday. Let him eat chips.

It’s going to be a fab wedding

Ant gets married this weekend and it’s going to be a fabulous wedding.

I know we joke a lot on air about how Ant is punching and how we have no idea what his beautiful, funny and clever fiancé sees in him but the truth is, they make an excellent couple and there’s no doubt they’re perfect for each other.

My in laws are going to look after Arthur so we can enjoy the day as a couple and we’re really looking forward to it. Although there is one thing that unnerves me about weddings, not just this one, all of them. It’s what to wear. I don’t mean style wise or does this make my bum look big, I mean the colour.

About four years ago I went to a wedding where the bridemaids all wore beautiful silver dresses. There were five bridesmaids and six tables for guests. Each table apart from one had a bridesmaid at it. At the other table, sat a lady who was also wearing the exact same dress as the bridesmaids. She hadn’t intended to, she’d just gone shopping for a nice dress and by a terrible stroke of coincidence picked the ones the bridesmaids were wearing.

All day people grabbed her for a photo and all day she had to repeat herself and tell everyone she wasn’t actually a bridesmaid. It was hideous and she looked mortified. Since then it’s become my big wedding fear.

This weekend I’m wearing navy and Ant has assured me the bridesmaids are not wearing that colour. Here’s hoping he isn’t winding me up.

Why I’m weird about my pants

Apparently I’m weird about my pants. 
When we moved house, we paid for the removal company to pack and unpack as well as actually move but despite this, I still found myself packing my underwear into a holdall and putting it into the boot of my car.

I didn’t want the removal people packing my smalls (or larges as the case may be). My husband said I was weird. This week, because we’re away we’ve got house sitters. We know them, we’ve been friends for years. They’re reliable, honest and trustworthy. Despite this I’ve packed all my underwear into a holdall and locked it into my husband’s office.

I don’t for one second think that Dave and Amanda, our badminton playing, scrabble loving, God worshipping friends would want a piece of my pants but how embarrassing if they were to stumble upon them accidentally? Or worse, what if their kids decided to build a tent and thought my Bridget Jones would make the perfect flag? What would the neighbours say?

Caroline Verdon is one half of the breakfast show on Radio Aire. You can hear Caroline and Ant between 6-10am every weekday morning.