Every day, my wife and I take great care to prepare fresh, healthy meals for our son (currently 16 months old). Then he “weaponises” it all.
Once a baby has been weaned to solid foods, all parents soon learn that the mantra “At age one, food is fun” means watching your lovingly prepared meals turned into projectiles. Baby loves to fling food about, and it goes everywhere but their mouth.
Initially, this can be frustrating – not least because of how long it can take to get the food into your child, the games you have to play to do just that, and the lengthy cleanup process that will never, ever, ever… get everything. (There’s always some piece of slimy food that gets underfoot when you least expect it.)
But take heart! One way to avoid going completely insane is to try and see things from a child’s point of view. See the world through their eyes. See what food looks like, feels like… see its “weapon” potential.
One morning I decided to do just that, and photographed the breakfast I prepared my son: before, during and after.
It all starts off looking like this:
Then once he gets his hands on it, the games begin:
Suddenly all food items become weapons to deploy. Looking at this from a child’s point of view (i.e. close up, in detail and in terms of how a foodstuff can go splat, squish, pop and bang) let us explore the “weapon potential” in his food…
Raspberries break into fragments and have a large aperture that is the perfect size for a small finger to plunge into. Once on finger, a simple flick can launch the raspberry grenade a satisfyingly long trajectory. Once they land, they fragment and spread out, leading to “toe jam” scenarios for unsuspecting parents.
Raspberries have similar properties to shrapnel grenades:
Blueberries have a smooth uni-body skin that bursts at the seams when detonated, releasing the interior mushy payload. By contrast to their raspberry grenade cousins, blueberry grenades are much more short range. Blueberries have no aperture to stick little fingers into, so they are often dropped or indiscriminately flung a short distance from the high chair. Once they land, they act as “latent detonators” as they are dark in colour and blend in with dark floors or carpets, laying in wait to be triggered by an unsuspecting foot.
(Clever babies can put blueberry grenades inside raspberry grenades for a devastating combo effect – double toe jam!)
Blueberries have similar properties to smooth grenades:
Grapes are usually cut into quarters to create several segments. Although little fingers can’t fling these too far, quartered grapes can very easily adhere to other surfaces and defy gravity. Hence aside from just ending up on the floor alongside other food drops, grapes are more likely to end up stuck on vertical surfaces like walls.
Grapes have the properties of mold-able, sticky C4 plastic explosives:
Sometimes disc-like, sometimes quartered, Kiwis have a lot of flat surface area with a high concentration of sticky seeds to deploy. They burst on impact.
Kiwis share similar properties to landmines with cluster bomb capabilities:
Banana slick detonators
Although not too different in shape from their kiwi brethren, bananas are much more slick and viscus. When baby flings them around, the biggest danger is… well, slipping.
In theory, this is how James Bond and his fancy gizmo cars dispatch enemies in a car chase:
Buttered Toast Ninja Stars
Sliced toast is a lot larger than the other food they share a plate with. Babies often fling this toast like a ninja star, and if buttered, the toast can leave a greasy film in the impact zone. If unseen by a parent during launch, the drop zone can equally become just as slippery as the banana slick detonators.
Ninjas can use poison shurikans in a similar fashion:
No matter how many flow valves or safety features manufacturers come up with, baby will always find a way to unleash the elemental forces of water. You only have to look away for a second> and the gates open.
No doubt baby is imagining that this will be the desired effect:
Taking on board all that you have just seen, this probably best represents the difference between how parents and babies see the same plate:
What we see:
What baby sees:
And just in terms of driving children, here’s more perspective: