Sunday, December 09, 2007

Red-hot Chili paste and other domestic Channukah Miracles

My baby LOVES Chanukah—When I light she claps her hands and waves hello to the flames. She dances to the blessings. Well, to be fair, she also loves the lights of printers, radios, elevators, bus brakes, and pedestrian crossing signals. Why wouldn’t she like Chanukah lights?

So I was hanging out with my two-toothed wonder, waving at the candles and eating latkes with chipotle salsa, cilantro and a squeeze of lime, when she parked herself at my knees and opened her mouth. No, it wasn’t a yawn or a “Mr.-Brown-Can-Moo,-Can-You?” noise. I was seeing my daughter’s mouth voluntarily open for food.

I gave her a bit of tomato. She made the “this-is-disgusting,-give-me-more” face. I ended up feeding her the entire bowl of salsa. Without a bib. Not a drop landed outside her mouth or on her clothes or in her fists. She stood at my knees the whole time.

This is the child who acts as if she’s dying if she sees a spoon approaching her from any angle with anything but applesauce on it. This is the child it takes 45 minutes to get six spoons of anything into her mouth and swallowed. If they made painter smocks for infants, I'd have one for her, because she looks like a Jackson Pollock canvas when she's done eating, normally.

I further discovered, through the course of this miraculous week, she likes barbeque flavor, herb de Provence, and vinaigrette. Eats better from chopsticks than from her spoon. And she’ll eat anything as long as it’ mixed with enough marinara sauce.

Heck, she’s been crawling around the apartment with a Clementine, lemon or lime pressed against her gums ever since citrus season started.

I do feel like an idiot. I had been treating her as if, because she had no teeth, she had no taste buds. And obviously, baby’s got standards.

Have you ever actually tasted baby food? I have. It’s just awful. Especially those jars of lentils and rice, or peas. Really, everything but the applesauce is terrible. They don’t smell too good either.

Well, when I was pregnant I did go through an industrial-sized jar of neon-red Korean chili paste, and a couple jars of schug, so maybe it’s comfort food to her.

Slightly less miraculously, I found a furnished apartment in Tel-Aviv for the spring—I’ll be teaching there for a semester—that is only slightly too expensive for me. A lovely Bauhaus.

A girlfriend urbanely reminded me, “you do realize that 99% of Tel Aviv is Bauhaus? and really neglected Bauhaus at that, sadly. Tel Aviv needs to be queer eyed -- it needs a total reality TV makeover.”

Well, that may be true of 99% of Tel Aviv, but MY building is owned by N. who has, indeed, renovated the entire building.

He’s thoughtful, too. When I mentioned I needed a quiet apartment because I had a baby, N. produced a baby bed. AND a changing table. Without asking. For free. Wonder if he can get me a breast pump? It feels indelicate to ask, though.


carly said...

How long will you be in Israel---we'll be there in JULY

Maya said...

I should be returning sometime in July. Depends on a second grant I've applied for. But come stay with us!