At least the dog’s happy with Jack

STEVE CANAVAN: Take note of why I love this country so much

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Does anyone have a sou’wester I can borrow for a year?

At 18 months old, Jack is just entering into the realms of trying to feed himself, and it’s no place for the faint-hearted.

It’s a frustrating and trying time for all involved.

He flips his lid regularly because he wants to feed himself all the time, his spoon flailing around half in his mouth, half in his eyes.

We’re losing the plot because we know that within 20 minutes, the kitchen can go from clean to a certifiable health hazard, with every inch having been spattered by vegetable mulch.

But which way do we jump?

Let him get to grips and express himself through the medium of food?

Or put him on a regimented training programme to preserve the well-being of bystanders?

It’s early days in his apprenticeship but at the moment we’re letting him decide his own path.

He’s doing well when it comes to finger foods and seems to have no problems navigating a baton of cucumber into his mouth.

I say a baton – unfortunately he’s inherited my impatience and gluttony and opts to slide five or six in at once.

He’s normally got one protruding as he chomps through the other four.

But if you want to see Jack at his best, give him a nice warm milky bowl of cereals.

It really is a sight to behold.

One spoonful ends up in the mouth for the other three that finish up in his lap, his hair and cemented to his face.

Cereals are messy, but for a true, lasting effect, carrot-based dishes are amazing.

I’m not sure of the constitution of carrots but the orangey-ness can last for days.

Last time he gave himself a carrot face pack, it lasted well beyond bath time and he went to bed looking like an odd blend of David Dickinson and an Oompa Loompa.

It’s OK for the wife and me but nursery folk tend to query why you’ve turned your toddler’s head into a pumpkin.

The biggest fan of Jack’s DIY approach is my border collie, Tane.

As soon as food is served, he slyly slinks in from the garden and positions himself around the base of the high chair.

On a good day they’ll end up going 50/50 on a meal, plus Tane gets the occasional lick of the spoon when it is dangled in the right direction.

For every bib and wet wipe that is sacrificed in the name of fodder, there is one upside that I’m personally looking forward to.

In 40 years time, I’ll be the one dribbling and struggling to get food into my gummy mouth.

And it’ll be his turn to hose me down.