Friday, October 13, 2006

The baby food frontier

Today marks Day 5 in the Sweet Peas experiement. That's my unofficial code name for the five-day introduction of William's first real baby food. (I'm not really counting the, I mean, rice cereal. I don't think he does, either. Rice cereal arrives in a bowl with a spoon but that's about all you can say for it. The other day, in solidarity with my son, I ate a bowl of my own version of rice cereal, Special K, while I fed him his rice cereal. He looked sadly at my bowl full of flakes and then down at his own bowl of mush and then back at mine. And I swear that he sighed. )

So, tomorrow we start a new food. I've been going back and forth: green beans or sweet potatoes? Sweet potatoes or green beans? Then last evening, while I was standing in the baby food aisle at Target, I suddenly thought, "What about squash? Why did I never think of squash?"

David is lobbying for green beans, because he wants to expose William to the various savory vegetables first before moving on to the sweeter and more palatable foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, and fruits. The baby books all suggest offering a sweeter food first because the babies might like them more, but lots of parents advised me to try a (less-sweet) veggie first. The logic there is that you give the baby the veggies first and let them get accustomed to them, then bring out the sweet foods so that the baby doesn't get used to the sweet foods first and then reject the less-sweet veggies. That made sense to me, so that's why we launched Operation Baby Food with a volley of peas.

But I started feeling sort of guilty. First I foist that bland old rice cereal mush off on him, then I give him peas. There are so many good foods out there, and yes, I know he'll be able to try many of them eventually, but it just seems so sad that he watches us eat with so much longing...then gets rice gruel and/or peas. And then instead of finally getting something tasty, he might get mushed up green beans. Now, I happen to love green beans, especially when they've been just barely cooked in some boiling water, then sprinkled with something like coarse pepper, or maybe sauteed in a little olive oil. But I'm thinking that my plate of freshly seasoned green beans and William's little tiny jars of green bean-colored mush are only just barely related to each other.

The good news is that I'm probably worrying too much about this. William eats his peas just fine. Sure a lot of them do end up on his face, on his bib, or in the folds of his neck. But each day, more and more seems to end up in his tummy. Sometimes he even reaches for the spoon. And he likes to take a big mouthful and then blow raspberries. David looked down at himself the other night after William gleefully pulled that little stunt and said, "Maybe I should wear a bib, too."

So I'm sure it'll be just fine and before I know it, William will be demanding a Happy Meal from the backseat. We first-time moms apparently like to overthink things. Or maybe it's just me.


Jon said...

I highly recommend Little Debbie Pumpkin Delights. They're delicous, seasonal, and come in a delightful smiley face shape. Plus, they may have at one point contained some form of pumpkin, so you're getting your vegetables in as well.

Eleanor said...

I gotta tell ya. My mother started me out on all the same food and even made my baby food from scratch. Yet I still stopped by the sugar bowl EVERY morning and ate a big scoop before she woke up. It's out of your hands. Just breathe and let go....

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