I had my first baby eight years and seven months ago, which means exactly eight years ago I was in the early stages of solid foods with Addie. I read every book possible — vegetables before fruit, let the baby feed themselves, don’t force feed, not too many snacks, organic, a new spoon and bowl at every feeding! Make your own! Buy the best! THE FIRST YEAR IS THE MOST IMPORTANT YEAR OF ALL WHEN IT COMES TO FEEDING YOUR BABY.
Or maybe it’s the first five years?
Regardless, Addie’s first taste of “real” food was a pickle, the first food she ever went crazy for was seaweed salad and I’m responsible for introducing her to ice cream.
Sure, I made a few mistakes — but I’m not quite sure what they were as Addie is a fairly well adjusted and adventurous eater in her eighth year of life.
The biggest mistake I made was doing what the books told me to do rather than what my gut and my baby told me to do.
The books said, “Let the baby feed themselves!”
My gut said, “Yeah, I don’t think that’s really how this baby rolls.”
And it wasn’t.
Addie was and officially has been the messiest eater I have ever known since her first bite of the real stuff. Her preschool teachers even asked if she had problems with dexterity and eating since she was always the kid with applesauce smeared up to her eyebrows. I started to wonder if maybe it was my fault, maybe I didn’t let herself feed herself enough? Maybe I let her feed herself too much?
In the end, the kid is simply a messy eater — always has been. Only in the last year does her face stay relatively food-free for an entire meal.
Enter Vivi, my second baby. Quite possibly one of the tidiest eaters I’ve ever known (unless it’s something that involves some sort of sauce, then all bets are off.) Vivi has been feeding herself in a fairly tidy manner since she could figure out how to get a bit of food from her plate to her mouth. In fact, Vivi’s biggest mealtime offense is that she likes to throw forks at her dining companions.
I didn’t read the books with Vivi. My gut (and my baby) said, “Give her food!” and so I did, and most of it ended up in her mouth.
This is just one more piece of evidence that two kids can come from the same parents but be wildly different in a hundred different ways (Addie never threw forks at our heads but Vivi has never stuffed smashed carrots in her ears.)
The good news? I have a lot less to clean up after a meal with Vivi. The bad news? Vivi may never fall asleep in her ice cream like Addie did one night, leading to another photo like this one:
That may have been a terrible mess to clean up, but my heavens it was funny. She was so proud of herself.
Have your own funny feeding time story to tell? Share them at Happy Family’s Facebook page for a chance to win $20,000! (Addie may hate it when I pull these pictures out now, but I can promise you she’ll be the one laughing with her scholarship all the way to graduation.)