Ah, starting solids. The wonder of discovering different tastes and textures, of food spooned into the mouth instead of sucked. A rite of passage.
I’d like to invite you into our house, for this wonderful event that is mealtime. Please come share in the excitement. Here is a scene from dinnertime any day:
Ask Toddler what she would like to have for dinner. Answer is invariably chocolate milk or candy or ice cream. Scratch that, prepare for Toddler some pasta or chicken nuggets, foods she will at least attempt to eat.
While food is cooking, pick up Baby Girl (or Boy) from whatever she was doing, usually jumperoo or superseat or rolling around on the floormats. Take her to her highchair, buckle her in. Pick up Baby Boy from whatever he was doing, take him to his highchair, buckle him in. If they are already hungry or otherwise in a bad mood, this can be a tricky endeavor as they will not go in without complaint.
Prepare oatmeal/something-pureed/breastmilk mixture while Toddler’s food is finishing up. Ask Toddler to get in her highchair. Ask again, and again, and usually again. Toddler turns off her iPad and climbs in. Serve her food, tuck on her bib, pour her drink.
If babies are not screaming yet, putting on their bibs will definitely do the trick. I learned long ago that the molded plastic bibs are much better at catching food than regular cloth ones, so we go with these, but they do not like getting them put on. In fact, Baby Boy requires the plastic AND the cloth, because he does not lean forward enough to prevent food from dribbling into his neck and down his clothes. So I double layer him while he struggles. And cries. (Anyone ever wondered how tiny babies can have such freakishly strong arms and legs?)
Now I’m ready to start the feeding part, and I’m already tired. Good thing Toddler is settled in her highchair eating by herself. But wait, “Mama, it’s hot! Blow on it!”
Finally. Spoon some lumpy goo into Baby Girl’s mouth. She scrunches up her face, pushes most of it back out with her tongue. Try to scoop it all up and push it back in her now-closed mouth with the spoon before it falls in her bib. Let her savor that for a bit.
Baby Boy’s turn. First pull his head out of his bib because he is completely hunched over trying to eat it. Spoon some goo into his mouth. Immediately he will stick the index and middle fingers of his left hand in his mouth to suck on them. Yup, he has not yet figured out how to eat without sucking. So watch as the majority of the food just scooped in runs into his hand and goes in the bib, as well as down his arm and onto the highchair, his clothes, whatever else is around. Be careful, he gets frustrated and will fling his arms about if he doesn’t get enough food fast. But he makes that pretty tough as those fingers need to get pulled out of the way first!
Meanwhile, Baby Girl is grunting for her next bite. Very ladylike deep gorilla grunts. Quickly, or she will start eating her bib as well. The next spoonful usually does better after she’s adjusted to the taste. Happily, I quickly spoon a few more in. Oh, wait. Sneeze! Sneeze. Sneeze again. I am sprayed with projectile green/orange/yellow goo.
As I clean Baby Boy’s arm and highchair, wipe myself and Baby Girl from her sneeze aftermath, Toddler is yelling, “More orange juice Mama!” I ask her to wait and hope that she can until I am finished with her siblings, but she is persistent so I have to refill/wipe-up/change-out whatever it is she is yelling about before going back to the surely-screaming-by-now babies.
And funny how much Baby Boy can sound like a pterodactyl. Except it’s not funny at the moment, because his screaming is making his sister cry. And his other sister is now yelling “All done! Get me out!”
I feel a headache coming on. And baths are next. Not funny at all.
lunchldyd is mom to a daughter just-turned-three, and solids-eating (sort of) 6 mo b/g twins