Paralysed by choice: 30th June-7th July

posted Jul 10, 2012, 12:12 PM by Dinner Lady   [ updated Jul 10, 2012, 12:17 PM ]
I am such a bad shopper. Or, from the perspective of Mrs Doubtfire's bank account, I am a great shopper. In that I hate it.  If you want to punish me, send me on a day trip shopping. One of the problems (other than the airless buildings, the crowds and the horror that all the merchandise sitting there is going to fill the landfill sites eventually) is that there is so much choice. I go into town looking for some jeans. Which shop do I choose to browse in is the first problem I face. Then what cut, what colour, what size.  I end up venturing into a shop, pacing around for a few minutes and then run home with nothing to show for myself.  

Another situation where choice overwhelms me, leaving me paralysed with indecision is ordering food at a restaurant. No way could I ever be Meg Ryan in the famous When Harry Met Sally scene (no, not the Big O) where she is so specific about how she wants her food served. I just wouldn't be able to decide. So often, I get hot under the collar when faced with a menu, speechless and unable to choose, eventually making a decision after everyone else has ordered.  No wonder one of my favourite dining experiences is at a local restaurant which offers a two course lunch with only two options for each course. 
Unfortunately it seems that I have passed this defect onto Princess Baby. Last week we visited friends and she was offered a bowl of raisins. While her eyes are razor sharp, her pincer grip excellent and her appetite insatiable, she was unable to eat even one tiny raisin. Every time her chubby little fingers dipped into the bowl, she was paralysed by the choice: just which raisin should she pick up? And so her little pincers would hover above the bowl, and then she would flap her arms wildly and finally give up. Eventually, I picked a little raisin out and laid it on the palm of my hand. She swooped, picked it up with great accuracy and popped it in her hungry mouth.

In my experience, too much choice is often at the heart of the problem when the kids are being unusually fussy. When asked: "Do you want some beans?" the young child is faced with choice that s/he cannot deal with. Implicit in the question is that they might be offered something else instead, and the options are therefore limitless. When I remember to ask the kids whether they would like either "a lot" or "a little" of the beans, they have a simple choice to make, they make it and then get on with it (because also implicit in the question is that they will eat the beans).  And, in general, we have very little waste from our plates. For the younger two, we start off with small portions, say a small sausage (or even half on fragile days), a spoonful of mash and a spoonful of beans.  They know they can have plenty more when their plates are clean. Anything larger and the choices overwhelm them: just which sausage should I start off with? Which beans should I scoop up first? How will I ever finish this plate of food? When you are just a few years old, these kinds of questions are challenging!  When I forget about small portions or give too many options, one thing is certain. A stressful meal ensues for all and a plateful of food heads for the bin.  

Waste not want not

rotten or gone off - 5 bits bread; 2 ends of pastry

left on our plates - PB - 1 tsp lentil salad; 1 tsp chicken, couscous and cucumber; 4 ends of bread

left overs I have forgotten to use up - 1 egg white

Not a great week. On the flip side, it could have been worse: I managed to rescue a satsuma just as it was about to "turn", finished a whole tub of hummus and made breadcrumbs out of 2 ends of bread before it went mouldy.


Local supermarkets     £ 4.43
Supermarket            £ 109.11
                       £ 81.87
Vegetable box          £
Local shop             £ 1.27
Total July so far      £ 218.18

Oh dear. We have only £100 left to spend this month if we are to stick to budget.  The unplanned supermarket shop (£81.87) has totally mucked this up...we went on a spontaneous trip, in person with the children and bought all manner of unnecessary products. Lesson: plan,go with out children, stick to the list or better still, just order "usuals" off the internet.