Stop Licking the Car!

Last week, I was in a cafe with my youngest daughter who is now almost 4, and my sister. We’d ordered lunch and my sister and I were chatting when I suddenly realised that my daughter had picked up the bottle of tomato ketchup from the middle of the table and had proceeded to lick the dry, congealed sauce from around the partially closed lid. ‘Ewww, yuck! stop doing that!’ I’d squawked, grabbing the bottle and eyeing my child with disgust. I was speechless for a moment, wondering how to handle this. I gave my sister a look that revealed my utter discombobulation and she returned it with a stifled snigger. Thankfully the waitress then arrived with my daughter’s ham and cheese toasty, we all got distracted and I decided to gloss over it.

But it got me thinking about how frequently I find myself having to say such things as; ‘Stop licking the car’ or ‘Why are you eating your sleeve?’ And as a professional child care practitioner in a previous life, I can remember plenty of incidents in the past when I have witnessed little ones happily chowing down on something inedible and totally gross, without a flicker of disgust on their faces.

A few favourites that I have witnessed a small child do:

  • lick the underside of a muddy welly.
  • take a chomp out of a cuttlefish bone found on the beach.
  • lick a mound of moss from a castle wall.
  • eat a handful of playdoh.
  • lick the snot hanging down from their nostrils.
  • eat a bogey (I’d like to add that my kids don’t actually do this as far as I’m aware!).
  • lick my face/arm/leg.

I’m sure every parent reading this could add at least 5 more things to the list. Feel free to share yours! 🙂

What I would like to know is; how come the desire to explore the world in this way doesn’t extend to food such as fresh fruit and vegetables or just, you know, dinner?

Why is it that snot gets tongue swiped from the top lip without hesitation but a delicious fish pie would be elbow swiped off the table by the same outraged toddler (and later swiped in to the food waste bin by a broken parent)?

Why does a cuttlefish bone get preference over a tasty chicken fajita wrap?

Why is couscous evil, when sand is an acceptable snack?

Any parent of a fussy eater will understand the frustrations of trying to encourage their child to try new foods. And how the pressure of the 5 a day rule looms over our heads like a giant hand ready to slap us round the back of the head at the end of the day if the figures don’t add up.

A friend of mine has confessed that she likes to aim for 9, yes 9! portions of fruit or veg per day for her 3 year old, just so she feels she has it covered. If I can get 3 portions in to my youngest in a day, it feels like a win – and one of those is usually tinned baked beans!  *Wincing* Here comes the giant hand again..

A few months back, we met up with the same friend and her daughter for a play in the park. My two were complaining of being hungry so I dished out a packet of mini cheddars to each of them, which i’d stuffed in my bag before leaving the house. Feeling uber prepared and totally smug about my epic organisational skills, I turned to see my friend arriving to meet us. What was that her daughter was holding and eating? Is that? Could it be? A whole red pepper!!? There she was, just chomping through as per an apple, pips and all. Happily! Willingly! She looked all fresh and healthy with a lovely juicy pink stain around her mouth. As I glanced back at my beautiful girls stuffing processed cheesy biscuits in to their perfect little mouths, I sharply felt the thwack of the hand of shame across the back of my head. How could I abuse them in this way? What a terrible mother I am! Must try harder, must try harder. Arrrggghhh!

I feel the need to point out at this stage that my children do eat fairly well, I (nearly) always cook from scratch and I limit their chocolate and sweets intake. But they don’t always both like the same variety of things – what one WILL eat, the other will not.

Neither will eat red pepper. Fact.

(*whispers*..And I do tend to opt for crackers over fruit when it comes to snack time)

Oh the guilt!

My youngest recently tried and liked dried apricots – I nearly wept with delight when she asked for more! Hurrah! We have now added that to the list. Yes we actually have a list, devised with the children, for my own sanity and to remind the girls. Because if any of the things on their plate are on the list, there is zero tolerance to any fussing about them.

As you can see, the list is constantly being edited, with grapes being crossed off and raspberries replaced by bananas. I’ve no idea why or how peas are still on there!?


Note: The apricots have to be scrutinised for the correct amount of squishy-ness before being accepted by said child. Any that don’t pass quality control will be handed back or discarded over child’s shoulder.

They don’t go for home made smoothies so I can’t sneak fruit and veg in that way and only one likes soup (which is my other veggie smuggling trick)

(Can I say ‘veggie smuggling’ without that sounding totally inappropriate? – you know what I mean!!)

I digress!

On days when I can’t be arsed to:

1. Think of something to prepare and cook that they’ll both enjoy


2. Engage in a puppetry performance with their favourite toys (Hello Kitty LOVES broccoli btw)


3. Resort to bribery in the form of a pudding, a star on the chart, a trip to disneyland… (I was desperate ok!)


4. Negotiating that the tiniest amount should be eaten or there will be nothing else until morning – and then accepting half of that as the final deal – of which half of that actually gets eaten..

I will simply reach for the fish fingers and waffles, bracing myself as I do so, for the giant hand of shame is poised above my head.

My husband and I are food loving types and always have been and it would be wonderful to be able to share that with our daughters too but how can that work when congealed sauce from a filthy lid, touched by many greasy, dirty fingers, is more appealing than… a grape?

When asked what to do about fussy eaters, child care professionals tend to say; ‘Just give them what they WILL eat.’ Maybe I need to think outside the box;

Starter – Bowl of warm snot with freshly picked bogey croutons

Main – Fillet of cuttlefish wrapped in streaky bacon, served with a sand and playdoh salad.

Dessert – Whatever you bloody want, I don’t care anymore.

Or maybe I should try smearing some mashed butternut squash across the car window, in the hope that it might be unsuspectingly licked off? That would count as a portion of veg, right?


Louise x



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28 thoughts on “Stop Licking the Car!

  1. Haha brilliant and I can totally relate! My eldest is almost 12 and I’ve had 12 years of trying (TRYING SO VERY HARD) to get any form of vegetable in to him any way I can, but no, 12 years on and he still won’t eat a vegetable! My youngest luckily eats everything at the moment. #friyay

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha ha, this made me laugh. My preference is for licking my Mother’s jeans legs. She looks at me and says: ‘what are you, a dog?’ P.S. Well done on the fruit and veg input, if my parents think they’re getting lots of healthy food into me, they can think again x #bigpinklink


  3. Oh this really made me smile! Why the need to lick innate objects but not food?! Brilliant! I’m still chuckling! I love the lists of veg – we’ve moved from is as mine are bigger but we’ve now got one vegan, one veggie and one allergic to wheat, dairy and gluten – can you feel my pain at dinner time?! Great read #BigPinkLink

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ha, this is hilarious! Don’t have kids yet so I am sure I have this all ahead of me (oh god!), but I remember my Mum telling a story on many an occasion about how I became a fan of black jelly beans and she had no idea what I was on about or where I got them from. A little while later Dad caught me about to pop a slug from the garden into my mouth!! So I too was one of those little oddbods! 😀 #FriYAYlinky

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  5. Ha ha – I had such a filthy look from my mother in law few months back when I asked my son very sharply to stop licking the window of clothes shop (think she thought I was implying something else, I wasn’t, he was actually licking the window!) We often have to count beans as one of his five a day – I try and tell my husband they are a super food… The hand of shame regularly dings me in the back of the head has I reach for the waffles but every now and then I give a little fist pump as he eats something homemade, obviously at school he eats anything and everything! Enjoyed your post 🙂 #bigpinklink

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  6. Oh don’t be so hard on yourself! Mini chedders are fine (and delicious!) once in a while, from the list it looks like they are getting enough fruit and veg! : ) Side note: I can’t believe a kid licked a muddy welly, BAH. Thanks for sharing with #StayClassy!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hahahahahaha! This is fab. You hit on a very good point there, why is it so hard to get them to eat normal food when they put such odd things in their mouths willingly?! Your friend sounds very……….unusual! I too consider myself a massive winner if I manage to shove a bag of something in the car before we go out, I often don’t even have a bottle of water with me and have to buy a *shock horror* fruit shoot for them or something! 😉 9 portions?! Blimey! Baked beans does actually count as 1 you know. I actually checked! 😀 Thanks for linking! #bigpinklink

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  8. Yes, what is it all about, the need to try and taste everything that is not actual food? I (smuggly) witnessed my 9 month old eat 6 grapes in a row. I was very impressed. #Bigpinklink

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes, it is weird. My two actually will eat endless amounts of fruit (eldest is currently in a phase of pretending not to like any vegetables though she used to like them), but I am fairly sure they would also lick a welly. & I hope the ketchup bottle thing never occurs to eldest toddler – she would do that! She is obsessed with ketchup! #fridayfrolics

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  10. This is so funny, and accurate! I’m afraid it doesn’t get any easier as they get older either, mine are now 7 & 9, and probably fussier than they were at 2 or 3! (Just have to add, 9 fruit & veg per day – does that child ever have a solid poo?)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This whole post is hilarious! I am totally impressed with that list of veggies etc but heaven help me, most of this made me absolutely howl. It’s getting featured in my new series Blog Stars. #BigPinkLink


  12. That is a more impressive list than my kids had! Count your blessings and keep their vaccinations up to date and you’ll be fine. My eldest (15) is now a bit of a foodie. She started on a strict diet of chicken fingers, carrots, and red peppers. Now you can add almost anything to her plate and she is able to appreciate it–with the notable exception of mushrooms. Those I don’t even bother with. Thanks for the laugh. Try and put a warning on posts like this next time. I was sitting down to eat. I’ll eat tomorrow. That’s ok 🙂
    Prabs introduced us on #BlogStars.


  13. I am basically still reeling at the fact that any child will eat a whole red pepper. I have to hide vegetables convincingly for them to actually be ingested. The one thing they will eat apart from beans is sweetcorn but that just comes out as it went in anyway… Thanks for linking to #chucklemums!


  14. Hahah, this is amazing. The thing that annoys me the most is how fickle they are. Mine used to stuff carrots quite happily but now claims to hate them. Why? And I know for a FACT that he eats a delightful array of food at school that he turns his nose up at home….rage! #chucklemums


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