It strikes me as funny that every time I walk into a restaurant with hubby, baby, diaper bag and wet naps, I always feel like I’m walking into a great battle. My aim toward the enemy line with my arsenal of weapons in hand only too aware that I am one of many that will likely be the first to fall.

You will have to excuse me, I just watched “The Patriot” on television with the Hubby the other day, and being Canadian we did the only thing we know how to do: politely mock the American-way of retelling supposed “American History” you know, in our own way, over a cup and saucer with a few biscuits and a serviette.

But the truth is, between the scenes of ravaging and murderous plotting and outright bloody slaughter I caught myself thinking, “Hey, this is how it feels with Jonah at the dinner table!” It is always a battle I know I am going to lose from the outset, because after all he is Mel Gibson and I am only a silly little Red Coat. Every. Time. This battle rages on time after time no different from the last. It’s very emotionally defeating.

In the past, Jonah was a joy to feed at home or take out on the town in his best dressed because he was so very well behaved. Well, I don’t know what the flipping hell happened in the last two months but now my little meatloaf is very picky about what goes into his mix.

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It seems when the summer hit his appetite just tanked and so did his attitude. He has become overly picky about food. All food, except toast. It started with him refusing the organic baby food (mush) that we bought for him against the will of our pocket book. Too much of it went down our drain after half an hour of trying to remind Jo that he used to love that stuff. It was heart wrenching. He wanted texture and the food we were eating.

Well, all right Jo. I’ll give you what I am eating. But then you throw it, drop it, feed it to the dog, spread it on the couch or drag it around the floor so long it soon looks like a dust bunny and not a piece of chicken breast.

Now, you may be wondering why at mealtime my kid is rummaging around the floor anyway. I’ll tell you straight up. Jonah is no longer “having” his feeding chair. Every time we even approach it with him in arm he screams bloody murder and contorts himself into every shape imaginable so it is impossible to place him in the chair without him flipping out of it and breaking his noggin. It is infuriating in a way I cannot explain. And, when a “writer” can’t explain something in a sufficient way you know that means serious business. You can’t trick, wrestle or force this kid into that chair. So we end up feeding him wherever he has plopped himself because at least that way I have a shot in hell in getting some nutrition into him. Which is a whole other problem by the way.

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The heat, I think the heat, yes. It has done its usual work of robbing everyone of their appetites. Jo especially. It worried me at first because I feel like he’s been stuck around 21 pounds for a long time now but everyone that sees him seems to think he’s undergone a rapid growth spurt. I see the little bugger daily so obviously I am not a good barometer. He’s slowed down on how much he can pack away in a sitting and I don’t know if that is a natural evolution that happens when he moved on to more adult food, or if it’s the heat of our apartment or if I am not providing enough or even the right foods! BAM confusion ninja!

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See, it has been a long enough period now where I have been calm about the parenting biz and comfortable with his rate of development so this is the universe throwing a curveball to keep me on my toes.

Lastly there is the fight that we have on our hands when we frequent restaurants. Now this is a sticky wicket this one, because often times Jonah is a little respectful, gossamer winged cherub in his high chair, snacking on toast and charming the tables next to us and servers alike. But I am afraid this is all part of the little bastard’s plan. It is put in place this way so we don’t see the cherub sprout its little horns and become a reality of his truer nature: a tiny devil in an angel Halloween costume. Diabolical. And, damn easy to miss.

We get sucked in thinking to ourselves that he’s been so good in public recently, why should anything be different? Cut to us sitting at a table staring at one another in un-amused shock while Jonah is throwing toast up against other patron’s heads, screaming so loudly your socks curl up and try to escape your feet. Then he starts squirming in his chair, so much so that he practically falls out, all so we will pick him up. But once he’s picked up there is not a way in hell we are getting him back in his seat quietly. By the end of our meal the food is cold, Jonah’s meal is on the floor and I am singing and bouncing him up and down, changing the words from “Paddy cake paddy cake,” to “Shut your face up or I’ll stuff you into a cake … baker’s man. Bake me a baby in a cake as fast as you can.”

It is quite the display.

Honestly, some times I’ll fade out of the situation at hand while dad wrestles the thing single-handedly and start thinking back to the old battlefield watching the bullets whiz past me. Which is worse? Dying for King and Country or being ruled by a pint sized horned devil that loves to see you covered in toast bits and baby drool in a public forum.

… I think I hear him cackling from his crib. Whoa, creepy.

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