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A toast to the boy who won't eat anything else.

Byline: Rosie Williams

SON number one asks if he can have a friend to sleep over. I am a bit reluctant, though only because we have not had this friend to sleep over before. Or even to a meal before.

He arrives as I am setting the table for tea. I invite him into the kitchen and show him what we're having - spaghetti with a bacon, cream and Parmesan sauce. Does he think he would like this? No thanks, he replies. He's not very good with vegetables. But there aren't any vegetables in it, I point out. He's not very good with spaghetti either, he says.

Not to worry, I tell him. I'll make him something else, quickly. Would he like some beans on toast? He's not very good with beans, he says.

What about cheese on toast? He's not very good with cheese, either.

What about toast? White or brown, he asks? Whichever he'd prefer.

White would be great, he says. So we all sit down to spaghetti with bacon, cream and Parmesan sauce sprinkled with fresh basil, as you do to impress the guests, while the guest has a plate of white toast.

Would he like some jam, the husband asks. Or is he not very good with jam? He is very good with jam, he replies. Normally. Only he doesn't want any at the moment.

Thank you.

After tea, the boys play table tennis; then we all sit down to watch a video. Then, while the husband helps the son and the friend sort out beds and duvets and pillows and decide who is going to sleep where, I set the table for supper.

Would he like Weetabix or cornflakes, I ask the son's friend. He's not very good with Weetabix, he says. Or cornflakes.

I dig deeper into the cupboard.

What about Frosties, then? Or Coco Pops? He's not very good with any cereal, actually.

What about some toast? White or brown, he asks? Whichever he'd prefer. White would be great, he says.

And would he like jam this time? Or not? No thank you, is the answer.

After supper, the boys play on the PlayStation, watch football on the telly and then get into bed. They are still yabbering away when the husband and I go to bed, just after midnight. But at least they are yabbering away reasonably quietly.

The following morning I am first downstairs. The coffee is percolating, the jug of fresh orange juice is on the table, and I am busy defrosting bread when the son and the friend come into the kitchen and announce that they're starving.

I hand them a plate each and a glass and put a basket of white toast in front of them.

The son makes a start, but the friend holds back. Is there a problem, I ask. Not really, he explains.

It's just that he's had quite a lot of toast lately. Would there be any chance of some bacon? Or maybe a sausage?
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Title Annotation:Columns
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 9, 2002
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Next Article:Riding to a compromise.

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