A LA DESCARTES • by Oonah V Joslin

“I don’t understand why you’re worried, Meg. She’s eating okay.”

“Yes, but it’s the effort. I can’t keep up. Last week it was squiggly foods. That wasn’t so bad. I got curly fries and spaghetti and I made squiggly-looking sausage rolls. I persuaded her tomato soup was squiggly by snaking some cream over the top.”

“That’s genius.”

“But you can’t base a balanced diet on a nine-year-old’s whims, Sara.”

“She’s making short work of that pizza.”

“This week it’s round things. Everything on it’s round; tomato slices, onion rings, salami, I even cut the mushrooms across their tops. What next?”

“Square and triangular things should be okay. You can make sandwiches either way, or toast,” said Sara.

“I’m just frightened she’s going to hear about trapeziums or hyper cubes or  start to only eating blue things or something equally daft.”

“I’d get some food colourings in, in advance — just to be on the safe side. Have you had a word with the doctor?”

“Yes. He said humour her for the time being. Said it’s a phase. But I think it’s just giving in to her, right?”

“C’mon. I have an idea… Okay if Mummy and Auntie Sara have some tea with you, Paulie?”

Paulie just nodded because her mouth was full of pizza.

“Do you know, I fancy some ice cream, Meg. Have you got any?”

“In the freezer. Vanilla okay?”

“Mmm yes and strawberries?”

“Yes I think so.”

“And a flake. Do you have any flakes?”

“You know I always keep flakes, Sara.”

“Still your favourites… I don’t suppose you have any of those thin…”

“Ice cream wafers that you like? Yes.”

“Oh, let’s go the whole hog and have some nut sprinkles too.”

“No nut sprinkles, I’m afraid.”



“Never mind. I might have a solution in my bag.” Meg produced a giant bar of Toblerone — the kind you get at airports. She broke off two perfect nutty triangles.

Paulie’s eyes opened ever wider with each addition to the desserts. First an irregular mound of ice cream, then heart-shaped sections of luscious strawberries, long splintery shards of milk chocolate flake and crispy rectangular wafers, Toblerone dark as a mountaintop peeking out from snow.

“What are you having for dessert, Paulie?” said Meg, taking her first spoonful.

Sara seized her cue. “How about a sliced banana or a nice apple?”

“Maybe…” said Paulie. “I think… Maybe I could eat things that aren’t round, just for dessert…”

Oonah V Joslin is Managing Editor at Every Day Poets.  Credits include 3 Micro Horror prizes, an honorable mention in The binnacles Shorts Poetry comp 2009, Inclusion in several anthologies, A Man of Few Words, The Best of Every Day Fiction 2008 and 2009 and Toe Tags.  Read her at Static Movement, The Shine Journal, A View From Here, The Ranfurly Review 10FLASH Quarterly and many other places. Other work including her Novella, A Genie in a Jam, can be found at Bewildering Stories. The list is updated in The Vaults at Parallel Oonahverse and on her Facebook.  Oonah’s ambition is to have a book published.

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Every Day Fiction

  • Cute story with a humorous twist.

    Unfortunately for me, I just eat stuff aimed at not making my butt bigger.

  • Pingback: Presenting the delectible, the outrageous, the inimitable…. drum roll here…Mr Jonathan Darcy – I mean PINNOCK…Oh BOTHER and Bum! « Parallel Oonahverse()

  • A cute story I find easy to relate to as a parent.:)

  • I like how the author has taken something as mundane as the eating habits of a child and created a flash fiction story. Flash fiction is the perfect art form for showing everyday life.

  • Nice work Oonah. 🙂

  • Nice one, Oonah. Light and fluffy but still satisfying.

  • Carol G

    Ha Ha! I can relate to this – my grandson won’t eat anything ‘wet’. His veg has to be steamed, no gravey on his meat, no milk on his cereal!

    Really enjoyable read. Thanks for posting it.

  • Nice, Oonah. We’re caretaking our four-year-old grandson in his tyrant stage. This morning, it was “No” to strawberries, crepes w/ chocolate, banana, and bagel. “Yes” to bacon and pineapple juice. What are grandparents supposed to do? (Answer: his paternal g-parents are picking him up Friday.)

  • JenM

    A great story, Oo Sarah and Me came up with an excellent solution, too bad it back fnah! I remember my pick eating stage well, unfortunetly so does my mother.] Meg and Sarah came up wit an excellent dolution, too bad it backfired!
    This gave me an ear to ear grin and a laugh. Definitly five stars.

  • Rob

    A good use of dialogue. A realistic problem and a useful solution. Full marks from a father of four.

  • Gerry

    Nice one, Oonah. Fun to read.

  • Being a father of a toddler and a preschooler, as well as a caretaker of a very picky seven year old niece, this story hits home in quite an amusing way. A cute story, the reading was smooth and well delivered.

    Perhaps the only thing I would like to see added — and I should clarify that this is not at all necessary to improve the story, is just a personal preference of mine, and may not even properly fit with the piece altogether — is a bit more physical activity and environment in the dialogue. Rarely when people talk do we simply sit, and while we as readers often supplement with our own imaginations where no information is given, I have a thing for the nuance of mannerisms and ambiance. But again, that’s just me.

    Well done!

  • I got lost in the dialogue in the middle – I had to re-read it a few times to follow who was speaking.

    Because there is more dialogue than people’s emotional reactions the whole piece seems to be a joke. But, a clever joke nonetheless.

  • I love the whole food shapes thing. The ice cream trick wouldn’t have worked with my daughter, though! Well done, Oonah.

  • Oonah V Joslin

    Thank you to you all for reading and commenting.

  • It’s funny how some sixty year old mentalities in five year old bodies love to taunt those who have authority. What comedy! I know she’s not going to eat ice cream. She’s going to think of something they haven’t thought of.

  • Fun story, Oonah! Makes me glad my daughter is no longer nine years old.

  • Mark Wallace

    Amusing and clever dialogue, but the twist was underwhelming and left me unsatisfied. Give her nice things that aren’t round? Surely the mother would have thought of that.

  • Sheila Cornelius

    Lovely inventive story that struck a chord. When my nephew was a teenager all he’d eat was Bovril butties.

  • Aah! What we moms have to go through….a mountain of ice cream! 🙂

  • jennifer walmsley

    Loved it. Remember that phase well. Brought a smile to my lips on this dreary day.

  • Gretchen Bassier

    Very cute. I enjoyed it.

  • Oonah V Joslin

    Thank you for all the follow-on comments.