After an hour of starvation following their last snack, the Boys sit down to their tea. Their plates are piled high with at least as much food as their parents' plates.
They eat everything on their plates. They eat everything on the table, including spilled salt grains. They eat everything that is left in the pots and pans on the stove.
They sit in silence, licking their fingers. Righty's eyes look sad. Lefty's gaze reeks of challenge.
"Still hungry, Mum."
They are going to be eight years old in a few weeks.
What is this eating business going to look like when they're sixteen?
My response is, and always will be:
"Have a glass of water."
They sigh, and always will. But because they are respectful, kind boys, and because they have a huge void in their tummies, they drink water.
Then they get into bed, and have me recite the next day's menu to them.
In contrast, Mr J sits down to his tea and stares at his plate with complete disdain. No matter what it is, his response is always the same. "Oh no! I don't like [insert name of main dish]!" Sometimes he feels the need to convince us of his sincerity by throwing himself on the floor beside his chair in a state of despair.
Invariably he eats it because there is no other option. One evening I was dishing up our food and he wandered in, wanting to know what we were having.
"Your favourite," I replied. "Beans and rice."
I was being sarcastic. Not surprisingly, he didn't catch this.
"Oh, wow! My favourite! Beans and rice," was his unexpected response.
We sat down to eat and I waited for his usual food rejection announcement. It never came. He sat happily shoveling down beans and rice.
He is the most unpredictable miniature human I have ever known.