Thursday, July 17, 2008

What is this crap, and where's my milk?

We’ve started Sophia on solids. I’m not sure if it was my mother, threatening to feed her lemon Italian ices as her first food or my own guilt that surged every time she reached for what I was eating. And I eat a lot. Thus, I was feeling guilty, a lot. Mom was over, watching Sophie while I worked. C’mon, she said. Just a little banana? She already had it half-way peeled and was dancing around, banana in hand. I have to admit, this was hard to resist.

Okay, I said. Let me text Kevin. Make sure its okay if we do it without him. (I had to learn how to text because my young, hip, very busy husband prefers to communicate with me that way.)

K-OK 2 feed bb if we send pix?

Kevin txted back—Green light. But send pix.

So I mashed the banana, as mom confined Sophia to her Bumbo seat. The the BB tugged uncomfortably at her Green Eggs and Ham bib. “I want to be the one to give her the first bite, mom,” I said, just in case she had designs on being the one. After all, she delusionally refers to Sophia as “my baby.” I just wanted to make sure she knew who was in charge.

I sat down on the floor in front of Sophia. Mom held the video camera, pointed at us, somewhat askew. Is this thing on? she asked, lens still covered. I pulled myself up to a standing position, popped the lens cap off, and pushed the button. Mom backed up, I can’t get both of you in.

Use the telephoto, mom. I said impatiently. I got up again to demonstrate. She played with it and started recording. “Sophia’s first food, take one.” I lifted the spoon, and instinctively, Sophia parted her lips. I shoved the viscous fruit in before she could close them. Sophia paused for a moment, her face neutral, then disgust transfigured her delicate features. Banana oozed out of the corners of her mouth. “MMMMMM….taste….” said my mother, in the background, smacking her lips.

Sophia smiled. She liked the sounds grandma was making. I shoved in another bite. More disgust. “YUM YUM YUM YUM,” said my mother, smacking away. Sophia smiled again. And that’s pretty much how it went—Sophia complicity taking bites, despite her obvious displeasure, my mother smacking away, and my clothes growing sticky with banana orts.

Three days later Sohpia had habituated to the taste, and even seemed to be enjoying it. She now saves her disgust for homemade organic applesauce (which I slaved over a hot microwave to make). Tomorrow, we move onto the truly exotic—avocado. I’ve thumbed my nose at the doctor-recommended baby food trajectory as well as the suggestions of well-meaning friends, opting for whatever I had in my refrigerator that seemed edible. I really don’t think what she eats now is going to dictate what she eats later--despite speculation to the contrary. Maybe I’ll pay for this someday, but I think if I feed her what we like to eat, she will develop a taste for it over time.

And my fears about her preferring solid food over mother’s milk? Completely unfounded. In fact, if anything, they’ve boomeranged. What if she won’t eat solids? What if I have to breastfeed her the rest of my natural life?

I take great comfort in the fact that most people eat a wide variety of foods. And sit up just fine. And walk. And talk. And lead rich lives. Sophia will eat in her own good time.

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