Hunger Games

Monday, March 19, 2012

Baby food. (What, not the "hunger games" you had in mind?) Okay, so maybe we aren't publicly displaying a contest of the wills for survival of the fittest...but, there are definitely times I feel like we are fighting to the death to get a spoonful of the latest pureed delicacy down the gullet of my sweet, ornery baby girl.

Ugh. Baby food. This is the absolute worst stage of eating during the first year. (And you thought breastfeeding was hard?) Maybe there's not an easy stage of eating at all the first 12 months or so...but, I'd argue that at least breastfeeding offers the "supplies" at hand (literally) and can be summoned anytime, anywhere, if need be. Certainly it has its own challenges, but at least for myself, once we got the hang of it, nursing my baby became just another obstacle for my hands to overcome while multitasking thirteen other chores at once. (Or didn't you know you could nurse, text, put on mascara and fix lunch all at the same time prior to having a baby?)

But once they hit 6-ish months, babies exit the "exclusively breastfed" club and journey towards the small bib for babies, one giant headache for parentkind. There are now plenty of books out there about what to first feed your babies, how to make baby food, when and where to introduce them to this or that. So much information, in fact, that is seems overwhelming and somehow - even though this is my second baby - I always seem to find myself staring at her, screaming with hunger, and thinking "What do you need????"

I can get so wrapped up in the "How many ounces?" or the "Is this organic?" or "Has it been 3-5 days since you last tried a new food and did not have an unusual or abnormal reaction to it?" (whew) that I forget to just hug on her and take my time...and maybe even skip a meal to just nurse her again until she is calmed down enough to actually eat from a spoon (and not just sword fight with it, flinging green bean mush all over my newly vacuumed rug).

We started with the rice gruel (er, I mean cereal). After two weeks of using the stupid plastic spoon like a crankshaft prying open her little vice of a mouth, I finally snuck in some applesauce and then bananas. She would purse her lips in such utter disgust, you'd think I needed a three-digit code to bust into that vault! Days went on and still she would leave each feeding more covered in the food than nourished by it.

Finally, finally, by trial and error one day, I stumbled upon the secret that unlocked the vault. The little princess desired her food warmed up. Are ya kidding me? Seriously? I'm afraid it is so. And it's not like I was feeding it to her cold in the first place! But, ridiculous and particular as it may sound - Daphne knew what she wanted and she wanted it HOT.

Ludicrous? Maybe so, but it worked. And now, even halfway through a little bowl of carrots and corn, if it gets too cool for her she will purse those precious little lips tighter and tighter until it is warmed up again. Good. Grief.

Daphne, you win. There are some battles I am willing to...microwave. I know it is so silly. But, after one goes to the trouble of blending and pureeing, of pouring into trays and freezing, of thawing and serving...all the while ensuring the responsibility and care for two little humans...well, by golly if I won't go ahead and nuke your gruel-du-jour and make sure you get your belly full. So there. I surrender.

As my toddler Matilda says, "Whatta messsss".


Daphne, you might get me to bend over backwards to get you to eat; but, remember that I'm still going to snuggle you close when you nurse. I'm still going to kiss your cheeks even when they are stained with purple prunes. I'm still going to remind you that I'm in charge by wiping your chunky little fingers after you've smeared them with sweet potatoes (and then, most likely, rubbed your eyes in weary confusion). And I'm still going to take sweet pictures of you while you are covered in peas to look back on this time fondly whether I'm beyond frustrated at the moment or not.

So...maybe this is a win/win after all.

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