So we were at a barbecue a couple weeks ago, and there were tons of people there, many of them children.
This is good for Bub, since we don’t have any close friends with little whippersnappers, and it’s also good for me, because I like barbecue.
Seriously, though, it was a good opportunity to talk to some other parents—the only people around actually interested in our projectile poop stories—at least until one of their little ones takes a spill or runs out of apple juice or needs their hot dog finely diced. It’s an audience nonetheless.
One parent was somewhat dismayed to see my wife feeding Bub his second fave entree of pureed sweet potatoes. Not that she objected to sweet potatoes; she was merely surprised that he wasn’t feeding himself at his age. Feeding himself? He’s only nine months (and did we mention seven months adjusted)! He has no teeth! Are you some kind of crazy person? Yeah, he’ll do that right after he ties his non-existent shoelaces, friend. And then he’ll start composing sonatas, and sanding the deck he just built. Where’s the fire, lady?
Two days later, Bub was eating with his hands.
What can I say? Sometimes we sell our kids short, don’t give them proper due and what-have-you. It was really just a change in mindset in the end. Bub’s entire epicurean world has been food processed for the past several months, and it was working just fine. It was routine for him, and for us. Why rock the boat, right?
Well, because if we want Bub to develop into a normal, well-adjusted young lad, he will have to get off that pureed train at some point. Plus the world of texture is an exciting one, to be explored and devoured one food at a time.
So this is how it went down … I decided to cut up some bananas one day. Soft, gummable goodness. I put them on his little baby platter and he absolutely refused to eat them. I tried modeling the grabbing/inserting method, he looked bored. I tried to hand him a piece, he cried. I tried to guide his hand to the bananas, he flipped the platter over. While crying. This was not going well.
Undaunted, we tried again the next day. This time, he didn’t cry. Instead, he took the pieces in his hand and smashed them with an angry grunt. But when he was done establishing dominance over the lowly banana, he did put one in his mouth. Then another. And suddenly it was cool to feed yourself.
It’s made meal time a lot more entertaining, a lot less work. I can actually do something else while he’s stuffing his face, like write this blog. It’s also made shopping at the supermarket a fun game for me, trying to find new and exciting things for him to try.
And yes, Bub, you can still have your sweet potatoes. You’ll just have to gnaw them a little first.