Doctor Fill

Why is it that some mothers seem to be permanently convinced that their offspring are on the verge of starving to death? When my wife & I were still living together, I often returned home from the office to see the battle of wills between Mrs Kyknoord and Kyknoord Jr over a half-finished supper dish. I learned very quickly that “Maybe she’s full?” was roughly equivalent to saying, “You’re the world’s worst mother and by the way, your bum looks absolutely HUGE in that”.

A far more effective approach was, “You look tired. Why don’t you let me take over for a bit while you have a break?” After Mrs K had retired gratefully to the lounge to put her feet up, Junior and I would exchange a conspiratorial glance and I would surreptitiously scrape the remains of dinner into the bin under the cover of simulated feeding noises. Father/daughter bonding at its best.

About the only thing my mother has in common with my (soon to be) ex-wife is this skewed viewpoint where food is concerned. As a consequence, I was a rather rotund lad when I was at school and it took me years to get my weight under control. My mother has never forgiven me for this and even now she still tries to undo the “damage” I have done to her greatest work.

I had lunch with my parents on Sunday. Much as I enjoy seeing my folks in their twilight years, I always do so with trepidation because without fail, some variation of the following conversation takes place:

“Have some more”
“Er – no thanks, Mom. I’m quite full, thank you”
“There’s plenty*”
“I am aware of that, but I’ve had enough, honestly”
“Are you sure?”
“Mother, has it occurred to you that I may actually be satisfied and my refusal to indulge further isn’t, in fact, a subtle jab at your parenting skills?”
“There’s really no need for you to get sarcastic”
“And there’s really no need for you to keep trying to rupture my abdominal cavity, so I’d say we’re even”
“Hilarious. Do you want pudding?”
“Ooh, yes please”

Some habits die hard.

* My mother doesn’t think the feeding of the 5000 is a particularly impressive miracle

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25 thoughts on “Doctor Fill

  1. I too was at my folks for lunch on Sunday (Simunye)!
    My mother, however, has an anorexic outlook on life and therefore the portions are teeny tiny. Her food is merrily dished up and then picked on in birdlike fashion. She takes great delight in stuffing us (her rather larger daughters) with desserts and cakes etc. though. Aah the joys.

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  2. My mum used to add a really quite masterful “You didn’t like it?”, or its effective variant “It wasn’t good, was it…”.
    The guilt-trip was quite the masterful addition, I found.

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  3. Ooooh, talk about flashacks into the not so distant past after reading the entry and the comments.

    My mother indulges in all of the above comments and then after the meal will tell me that she was four dress sizes smaller than I am when she was my age.

    So here is me, looking forward to resembling a bloated hippo when I reach the age of 72.

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  4. I have never been a big eater but did spend the major part of my early life in hostels of various sorts – boarding school from age 7, university residences, military barracks of various sorts, where portions were plentiful and reasonably good.

    It was quite a shock to the system getting married. My first wife must have ben the inspirational source for those dreadful ‘new’ restaurants which charge you double the price for a quarter of the food. All very artistic and all, but… hell!

    I would appreciate the Maitre D at least having the decency to wear a mask when presenting the bill. I guess I like some bang for my buck.

    My mother, alas, passed on quite early in my life. She set a very good table and it was a pleasure visiting the farm on odd weekends, before we moved countries.

    But I take your point. I came across a good number of over protective and indulgent parents as a teacher. They are a real pain.

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  5. I wonder if I will do this sort of thing to my children when I get older? Probably not as I’m not a mother but I’ll do my best to keep their mother in check should you display these tendencies

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  6. atw: No need to be concerned. The spycam is in the bathroom.

    bee: It’s the same with mine. She’s as thin as a stick – the antithesis of Jack Spratt’s wife.

    shortypam: Nah. It’s just a trick she learned from her mother.

    anne: Very masterful. My mother only plays the “you didn’t like it?” card when she’s been experimenting with something new.

    katt: Fortunately, I wear the same dress size as my mother, so at least I don’t have to deal with that crap.

    the python: Their hearts are in the right place. Their children’s hearts are a bit more difficult to find under the accumulated lard.

    chitty: That explains why I feel homesick when I over-indulge.

    alan: Good man. You’ll probably save your kids a lot of therapy when they’re older.

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  7. my mother wasn’t like that, but my ex’s was. i’m still trying to lose the weight i put on after going out with him for four years, and being force-fed by his oversized parents, who seemed to think that not eating dessert with every meal was some kind of insult to their hospitality. How he and his sister remained a normal size, i do not understand.

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  8. thats not my mom so much as my ouma (bless her heart), she had the same attitude and also cooked as if she was feeding the whole neighbourhood- real “boerekos” too, lots of sugar and butter and that!!
    damien’s always been a sporadic eater… he’s not at all fussy, but he goes for days where he’s not particularly hungry, and then eats like a horse for a week! i stopped fighting with him about it a loooong time ago!

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  9. My granparents were the same way. You ate til it came out your ears or they were offended. But pudding – always room for that! It fills in the spaces beteewn the other food so it doen’t really fill you up! 😉

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  10. geena: Maybe we should send your kids to spend a few days with my mother and see who wins.

    moonflake: Tapeworms. Low-maintenance pets.

    andrea: I thought everyone’s a critic.

    angel: It hardly seems worth the stress IMHO.

    Shutterjane: What about breakfast in bed? Seems like a workable compromise.

    : Maybe it’s genetic (the ‘feeding you until you pop’ thing, I mean – not the spelling part).

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  11. I’m the exact opposite to you. I have a huge appetite and always have had. My mom used to say, “You’ll regret it when you’re older!” She waited for years for me to get fat. I’m thirty…something… now and she’s still waiting.
    What can I say? I get hungry a lot!

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  12. Priceless, Kyk (seems like your new site hasn’t been eating well, though; seems sparse and pale).

    This mom and food thing goes back to the caveman days when the males would return from spending three weeks trying to kill a mastodon, and half the hunting party had been gored to death.

    Their numbers greatly dwindled and with 5,000 kg of rotting mastodon flesh to consume, the mothers — particularly the mates of the males who had been killed — started force-feeding their offspring.

    It has continued to this day.

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  13. I loved that little intimate portrait of bonding with lil miss kyk.
    I think that my parents could not overcome the value of food equation drilled into them by my grandparents who lived through the great depression of the 30s. Every mealtime lecture was a reminder of my grandparents struggle to survive as well as the starving kids in Biafara who had nothing.

    As a teen I couldn’t gain weight if I tried..my downfall came a little later on…
    and truth be told I still haven’t lost the’sympathy’weight that I gained while nibbling my way throughout the gestation periods of my four children.

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  14. terri: Tapeworms. That’s all I’m saying.

    jam: Of course. That’s what the appendix is for.

    rev: You bet your ass!

    withinwithout: And once again, the debate swings in favour of ‘nurture’.

    homo escapeons: You have to admire the logic where the plight of others is used to make one feel guilty about something that is – let’s face it – unrelated.

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