Thursday, February 28, 2008

The great egg debacle of 1985

Yesterday Mikko showed his first signs of really being ready for and interested in solid foods. He's 8.75 months old, and he's had almost all the signs of readiness since 5-6 months old -- except for that tricky swallowing bit. He tends to enjoy the feel and taste of foods in his mouth, and then gag and push them all out, often puking in the process. Delightful.

But, I figure he won't go off to college still breastfeeding (not exclusively, at any rate!), so I haven't been worried, just watching to see what he'll do.

Last night while Sam cooked our evening meal of sweet-potato goodness, I dug out Mikko's portable booster seat/high chair and rounded up an array of baby-pleasing treats, including grape bits that I partially chewed for him. Yes, just like a mama bird. What he doesn't understand is gross won't hurt him.

He was particularly taken with the grape bits, and kept dragging my hand down to his mouth to get more, which amused me. I'd never seen him so eager for food (beyond nummies) before. We gave him sundry other snacks to pick up, mush, and fool around with, which I won't list in detail here under fear of being deemed A Bad Mother, because pretty much everything I gave him wasn't on the list our naturopathic ped gave us for his age range. Her list included things like blended sprouts in water, so Sam and I gave ourselves permission to diverge.

It was fun to see Mikko squish the squishy bits into his tray, pick up small pieces between his thumb and pointer (his very favoritest new trick), gnaw on small-hand-friendly spears, and use his 6 sharp teeth to do some serious damage to his prey. I manually expressed a little breastmilk into a sippy cup (the kind that drips and doesn't have a valve), and we tried that with and without the lid. Either way, Mikko's favorite thing to do with the cup is whack it onto the floor. Good thing there's plenty more where that came from!

I really like this site for some great guidelines for baby-led solid food introduction:
It looks like it might be in Dutch, but it's mostly not.
As well as this one for some great pictures and parent experiences:

But, as to the title of the post, here's an example for how I do not want to treat food consumption.

At some point in my elementary-school days (I picked 1985 for a close-enough estimate), when a friend was over and my parents were serving breakfast-for-dinner, I asked to be made a fried egg. My parents responded, reasonably: "But you don't like eggs." And I said: "But I want one." And they told me I could have one if I ate it all. "Yeah, yeah, sure, give me my egg."

Well, perhaps you can see where this is going. I had a lot of fun poking it and swirling the yolk around, and then I was done. Because, frankly, I don't like eggs. I have now learned to stomach them, but I still don't enjoy them. Back in this timeframe, it was all I could do to gag a bite or two down.

My parents said I had to stay at the table until I'd finished the whole egg. It was a fight to see who would be more stubborn. Since I'm not still at the table, I'll admit right now that they eventually won. My friend was over, I was crying, it was horrible -- all over one stupid fried egg. I thought it might be better with some maple syrup on it. It wasn't. It was still gross, and now it had maple syrup all over it, which was incongruous. The longer I sat there, and it must have been at least a couple hours, the colder and more rubbery that stupid egg got. And the more determined my parents became that I would shovel the thing down my throat.

It's not like one egg costs that much money. We didn't raise chickens, so it wasn't like it was our favorite hen's only egg that day. My unusual request for an egg didn't mean someone else went hungry.

And, really, what a way to enforce a healthy outlook on food. Way to encourage trying again healthful foods that didn't appeal to you earlier. Way to reinforce the idea that food is an enjoyable source of energy but not something to have a complex over.

I'm trying to let the egg tantrum remind me to let Mikko do his own thing with food. With breastfeeding, he's been an absolute champ at portion control, gaining and maintaining an appropriate weight, and not being a fussy eater. I'm sure any coaching I could give him on the subject of food and eating wouldn't do him any better than just letting him loose.

Oh, but I'm sure there'll be at least one good my-annoying-parents story for him to moan about as an adult.


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