Pieces of Me

Spaghetti Induced Anxiety

Two breathe taking weeks. Lungs full of ocean air. Sun kissed skin. Sinking into the sand were the long nights, aching shoulders and heavy thoughts of the year that passed.

Our summer escape was spent driving along the eastern coast of Australia, stopping at different places, feeling insignificant to the view and the beauty of this country. Without the constraint of routine and the fast-paced life we lead for most of the year, we found time to reconnect and indulge in each other’s presence.

Long cuddles in the morning and even longer cuddles at night, were the perfect way to start and end each day. With the freedom to explore beaches and be swept by the surf my boys for the most part, were very well behaved. The odd argument in the car and the occasional bickering over whether we would spend the day at the pool or the beach – life was good.

Until it was time to eat. As the day drew to a close and the sun slowly began to set, deep in my stomach was a subtle bubbling of anxiety. While on holidays cooking was completely struck off my list. So we ate out for all meals. The boys were usually ravished at breakfast and lunch, so they couldn’t eat fast enough and then kicked back with their ipods. Dinner time was different. Their sun kissed faces were tired. Exhausted. They wanted to sleep, wanted to eat, wanted to play. They didn’t know what they wanted to do for most of the time.

While every restaurant was different, in every aspect they were also the same.

“Do you have a kids menu?”

The same fare on each one. Chicken nuggets and chips. Fish and chips. Mini pizza. Then the one I absolutely dread – spaghetti bolognese. I could easily choose not to order this. The only problem was, this was the one that PJ would eat. Without fuss or complaint.

“Can I substitute penne instead of spaghetti?”

More often than not, the answer was a blank, flat “no.”

spaghetti induced anxiety

Thus began my escalating anxiety. Twirling spaghetti onto a fork, then trying to manoeuvre the fork and its contents into the mouth of a three year old is nothing short of an Olympic sport. Sauce dripping from one side, spaghetti slipping off the other side, PJ turning his head at the last minute to speak to his Dad, me missing his mouth completely, only to have all the spaghetti down his front! Every night!

If I could rewrite the entire scenario with penne, the whole story would be completely different. Two penne at a time, straddled onto a fork. Bang into his mouth – ready for the next serve!

Coupled with my constant juggling act at the table of stopping glasses full of drink being spilled, waiters being tripped by little legs suddenly jutting out from tables and mood-setting tea light candles being treated like a never ending birthday candle – dinner time almost killed me!

spaghetti induced anxiety

Luckily, the action packed days often meant that the boys fell into an exhausted sleep early on in the night. So hubby and I could enjoy a quiet glass of wine, while waves were crashing in the distance. A moment to catch our breath again. On one of those nights, I turned to hubby and said “I don’t feel so guilty about not taking the boys with us on our next trip anymore. One whole week of eating dinner without any anxiety or spaghetti bolognese – that is what I am looking forward to most!”

What makes your anxiety rise at dinner time?

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