Thursday, November 15, 2007

Spitting it Out Would Get the Same Message Across with a Lot Less Mess

Decorum should have dictated that I show some modicum of dismay over the fact my 10-month-old daughter was eating off the floor at someone else’s house. More specifically, she was eating scraps her playmate, after licking all over them, mashing them, and dissecting them, threw from her high chair. After all, we were eating with people who didn’t know us well.

Usually I have to trick my daughter into opening her mouth when I want to sneak anything but applesauce and cheerios into her. I don’t hold her jaws closed until she swallows or anything. I just offer her a taste. She needs to keep tasting food—at least that’s what I read somewhere—and then someday she’ll magically like it.

Often she gags as if I were trying to poison her. She’ll make an excellent Shakespearean actress one day.

Now here she was voluntarily opening her mouth, placing the broccoli in, chewing (gumming) it and swallowing. When she saw me looking she grinned triumphantly and waved at us all. Naturally, I didn’t even feign shame.

The next day I made my girl broccoli, carrots, and mushy pasta, sat her in her chair, and handed them excitedly over. She gladly mashed them up and then examined her hand as if she’d just killed a mosquito and was looking at the blood.

I placed her on the ground and put the vegetables in a bowl. She picked up the bowl and dumped them out. I arranged them on a placemat on the floor. She lifted the placemat and shook them off. I placed them directly on the hardwood floor, and she ate one or two.

Placing her food directly on the floor doesn’t work all the time. Some days she just ignores it and goes for a dried leaf near the doorway or bit of paper under my desk.

Food tastes better if you must hunt for it, apparently. My mother has suggested I hide food so that she can “find” it, but I worry that I’ll forget where I put it. I mean, I do have a job, too, so, let’s face it, the housework suffers a bit.

Since she seems to vomit a lot after I’ve had cow milk—in cheese or even milk chocolate, I don’t want to give her yoghurt—which is one of the foods other mothers have suggested. Besides, why should I feed her another animal’s milk when I’ve got far more than enough for one child? I just worry that she should be eating more solids more regularly by now.

My daughter is a charming breastfeeder. She blows on my tummy after I finish nursing her the way I blow on her tummy after I change her diaper. When I’m not paying enough attention to her, she stops and grins up at me, until I laugh.

But solid foods!

I can just see it now, her first day of school. Snack time comes and she drops to the floor, takes apart her sandwich and spreads the filling across the floor.
Her teacher will ask: were you raised in a barn?
And she’ll say: What do you mean? This is how we eat at home.

1 comment:

Ima Shalom said...

How about soy yogurt? There are lots of great, fortified non-dairy options out there. But if I were you I'd experiment--I know more moms who couldn't eat dairy when they were nursing whose toddlers suck down the whole milk like there's no tomorrow. There's a whole new world awaiting you right around the bend...