There's a quote from the movie "A Christmas Story" that I often think of when Cora is here. Grown-up Ralphie is talking about his little brother, Randy, and says, "Every family has a kid who won't eat. My kid brother had not eaten voluntarily in over three years."
The toddler I babysit grows like crazy, so she obviously gets some nourishment somewhere, but the amount of food she eats at my house wouldn't sustain a sparrow; Nevertheless, at mealtime I dutifully give her a tiny portion of whatever we are having and hope for the best, taking satisfaction in the fact that she at least drinks the milk I pasteurize for her.
I keep a plastic toddler plate here for her that's divided into three sections. The other day we had potato patties, green beans, meat loaf, and applesauce. I put a couple of bites of each in her plate. She actually ate about two bites of potato patty and one taste of applesauce. Then she proceeded to spoon applesauce from one section of her plate to another. After moving a couple teaspoonfuls of applesauce to a new section, she got a bite of potato on her fork and dipped it into her applesauce: "Dip!" she said victoriously, and proceeded, again and again, to dip pieces of potato patty into the applesauce, never once taking a bite, but smiling and saying "Dip!" with each bite. She was very happy and proud to be dipping!
Things like this always make me curious about how her little mind is working. Did she learn to dip some sort of food at Grandma's house in Iowa? Have her parents been having chips and dip occasionally? But why would she decide that potato patties need to be dipped in applesauce? And why wouldn't she at least taste it after dipping?
Kids. Who knows why they do what they do?