Mothers like to watch their children eat / eating and play / playing.
The problem I've come across is whether it's possible to use the infinitive in this sentence? It seems to me that yes, it's possible, but I need an explanation of this use. Normally grammar books (I needn't give a special title, just almost all of them) say that one should use an ing-form in situations like that, when the accent is on the continuity of an action (because mothers enjoy watching the process of eating, playing etc. Or one can't use an infinitive here?
If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)