Egg allergy? Muffins it is then.

Watching the Little Mister eat anything I’ve made for him gives me an undeniable sense of satisfaction. Watching him eat anything at all is pretty uplifting, granted, but nothing beats watching him take to his mouth a morsel made by his mama.

It only 11 months, yes, but now that gag reflex is gone, the Little Mister is able to eat lumpy food, and even chew on bits of bread and crackers. He’s still being fussy, and I’ve not yet mastered getting him to feed himself anything other than bread and crackers, but we finally have progress. For the last two mornings he’s finished his banana mashed with weetabix. And he’s had about half of the lunch and dinner I’ve served up. Meat mixed with pear, apple or mango? Check.

I gave up slaving over my fancy baby food cooker months ago when the only thing he would eat out of it was pureed fruit. But this morning, buoyed by the success of an empty breakfast bowl, I cooked for Little Mister.

A couple of weeks ago, we tried to give him scrambled eggs. After he refused to eat them, he came up in a scary rash and hives around his mouth. I panicked and Skyped mum. I had an egg allergy too as a baby, but grew out of it.

So, after a little help from google, I made some egg-free, sugar-free banana muffins, adapted from a recipe I found online here. We had lunch out, at Te Papa today. The Little Mister ate almost half a muffin before throwing the rest on the floor. (Yes, I was so happy I wanted to tell everyone around me what had just happened, but I restrained myself and just gave my baby the biggest slobbery kiss ever.) Try them for your little ones, they are yum and oh-so-easy:

Sugar and egg free banana muffins:

In a bowl mix the following ingredients. Then, place a big spoon of batter into a 12-hole greased cupcake tin. Bake for about 20 mins on 170C. Makes 24.

1 cup rolled  oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1 cup prune and apple puree (which I’d prepared earlier in the fancy baby cooker – just call me Nigella.)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch nutmeg
pinch cinnamon
tiny drop of vanilla paste
2 large ripe bananas, mashed well
1 1/4 cups water

banana muffins

And here they are

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Dear Mama: Food Rules

Dear Mama, thanks for figuring out that I’m ready to eat now. I knew it wouldn’t take you long to notice, given you’ve been trying to feed me for half my life. But now that I’m ready, I think we need to lay down some ground rules – and of course – take it slow.

1. Crackers. I like these. Cruskits are good, and preferably the ones with only two ingredients: maize and salt. Rice cakes are good too, but only the little ones with apple juice added for flavour.

2. Bread. Let’s stick with white for now. Pita breads are good, but please make sure they don’t get too hard in the toaster. Ideally, they will be from a just-opened packet so they are fresh and soft.

3. Butter. This is fine in small quantities, and it must be INSIDE two slices of bread or crackers, so I can’t feel it on my hands. It feels yuk. Ditto vegemite.

4. Fruit. Possibly the one food I prefer pureed. Steamed fruit is just too slippery and slimy. Maybe I’ll change my mind next week, but for now, put the fancy steamer away. The same goes for carrots.

5. Meat and vegetables. Still not interested, sorry. Bread and crackers will do me just fine.

6. Mealtimes. I still think we have too many of these during the day when I could be crawling, cruising along furniture, and looking for drawers and cupboards to open.

7. Feeding me. I’ll do this myself, thanks. I’d rather you didn’t try and put food in my mouth. There will, however, be some occasions when I will eat pureed fruit. You’ll have to watch me  to judge when these are. Once I’ve had enough though, please put the spoon away promptly. Mostly, though, I’m figuring out how to handle food on my own – and I’ll stick to crackers and bread (see rules 1 and 2).

8. Handfuls. You’ve got the right idea with the perfectly-sized baby rice cakes. Excellent. And I think you’ve worked out that Cruskits need to be broken into longish strips so I can hold the bottom and eat the top. Watch they’re not too wide. Soldiers of bread are just fine.

9. Enough. Once I’ve sucked on my food for long enough, it gets soggy and it sticks to my hands. Please take it away. If you don’t I’ll throw it on the floor. That doesn’t mean I want you to pick it up, tell me about the three second rule, and offer it to me again. Throwing it away means I’m done.

Thanks Mama, I think we’re on the same page with this one.

Love and big open mouthed kisses, Milin Charlie xo

This time it really is progress

TONIGHT our little family ate dinner together for the first time. Let me explain.

We’ve tried it before. But the Little Mister is generally uninterested in food. By dinner time in particular. And it usually involves one of us distracting him while the other tries to trick him and get the spoon into his mouth. Sometimes we get two mouthfuls in, sometimes it’s five. Our food gets forgotten. He throws his toys on the floor. You see, we never eat together.

But tonight, the Little Mister held a piece of a corn wafer in his hand, and sucked and sucked and chewed and swallowed. He finished it. We ate our dill and lemon baked fish with vegetables and watched him. We finished ours too. He wasn’t sick.

I’ve been to the doctor twice about the projectile vomiting. Until now, anything not pureed into liquid form has come straight back up after a few scary moments of near-choking. At nearly 11 months, the Little Mister still has a very sensitive gag reflex. Apparently. Apparently it’s nothing to worry about. The doctor, who perhaps viewed me as a neurotic housewife with too much time on her hands, suggested we see a private specialist if we were really concerned.

I know that for under ones the most important food is milk – but that birthday has been rapidly approaching. And until now, there’s been no discernible progress. So, as much as I’ve tried not to be, of course I’ve been concerned. Recently though, it’s more that I’ve been sad for the Little Mister. He wants to eat. Sand, soil, bits of brick – he gives it a go (and then vomits over the kitchen floor again). I watch his friends with their lunchboxes. I’m jealous.

I have no idea why in the last few days things have changed but they have. Lumpy banana – he ate it. Buttered bread – he only gagged a bit. FORK MASHED CHICKEN AND PASTA – HE ATE IT (mixed in with creamy rice pudding, but that had lumps in it too.)

I’ve been optimistic before, but this really is progress. Maybe the Little Mister will be eating his first birthday cake with us after all.

Dear Mama: Some advice

Dear Mama, I’d like to help you. I think you’ve been struggling a bit with meal times, so here goes.

I’m nearly ten months old now, and, sorry to say it, but you’ve been a bit slow at figuring out this whole solids thing. You might remember (I do) that you first tried to give me some baby rice cereal when I was five months. Luckily for both of us, you figured out pretty quick there was no way I was going to eat any of that grown-up-like-food-stuff and you stopped trying for a while. (Lucky too that you realised baby rice cereal is awful and should only ever be offered in miniscule quantities mixed with lots of pear.)

After a bit of a break, you tried again. I’m not sure why you did this. I like bottles of milk just fine. Sometimes you could warm them up a bit more, but generally, they’re just fine.

You might remember (I do) that when I was eight months old I stopped fighting you so hard. I had to give it to you mama, your persistence was impressive. You’d sit me down every day and try and feed me with a soft blue spoon. Meanwhile, you’d tease me by using a metal spoon yourself. Didn’t you realise how good that would feel on my gums?

I tried really hard to show you how much I wasn’t ready to eat. I clamped my lips shut, turned as far away as I could from the spoon, and squirmed in my high chair. Sometimes I’d shout. Most times you didn’t get it.

But, as I said, after eight months, I gave in a little to your persistence.

Since then, we’ve made quite a lot of progress. For example, you’ve learnt that velcro-fastening bibs are a waste of time because I can get pull them off easily. You’ve also clicked that there’s no point starving me of milk, it doesn’t mean I’ll eat more grown-up-like-food-stuff. I think too that you’ve relaxed a bit about it all and now you give up sooner when I’m not going to eat. (Even though you took me to the doctor because you were so worried about me puking up all the time. I think you got the message from him though, that there’s no need to be neurotic and I’m just doing this on my time.)

But there’s still a whole lot of stuff you’re still not getting. Like finger food or anything actually solid: I will gag on it and throw it up. Why don’t you just stop giving it to me? And cleaning the high chair. Why do you spend so long doing it? I don’t care, you know, if the remainder of my last seventeen meals are caked onto its edges. I’m still not going to eat them. Instead of cleaning, you could be playing toys, or crawling, with me.

Then there’s the vegetables. This is where you really need help. I know you steam them up with apricots. I hear the scary blender sometimes when I’m trying to sleep. Just so you know, I can still taste the vegetables through the apricots.

Recently, you’ve started giving me banana and weetabix in the morning for breakfast. That’s ok, I can handle that. But please remember, as soon as I turn my head away from the spoon and drop my toys off the side of my high chair, mealtime is over. And please don’t forget to pick up my toys for me. Somedays mealtime will be over after one mouthful. Somedays I’ll eat a third of a banana. Just watch me closely for clues about which day it’s going to be.

But here’s the most important bit mama, and this is the bit that’s going to help you. When I’m ready, I’ll eat. Just like all those other babies we see at playdates, who eat toast and carrots and pasta, I’ll eat. For now though, no more doctors, no more sighs at the breakfast bar and hanging your head with sad eyes, and no more kumara and apricot flavoured meat and vegetables. Let’s just wait til I’m ready.

Lots of love and opened-mouthed kisses mixed with raspberries,

Milin Charlie xxx

 

 

Coffee and Groceries

Today, I caught up with my antenatal group over coffee and cake, and, after the Little Mister’s nap, I went to the supermarket. Or, looked at another way, I did this:

  • Built a fort. Yep, for the first time since I was very young, I built a fort in the living room. This entailed pulling the swabs off the sofa, ignoring the crumbs down the side that need hoovering (because the Little Mister is afraid of the hoover so it only comes out when he is away or asleep), and constructing the perfect climbing fortress for new adventures. My teeny crawling boy has figured out that climbing up things and pulling himself up to standing is super fun. So, for hours today, that’s what he got to do in our transformed little living room. It was a pretty awesome peek-a-boo venue.
  • Talked to him the entire way around the supermarket, despite people looking at me like I was crazy. The supermarket is one of the Little Mister’s favourite places. There are a whole load of kids he can smile at, a whole load of women who pull funny faces at him, and he gets pushed around while looking at all these exciting new things. I’m not crazy for talking to him, he loves it, and I reckons he gets what I’m saying. (Stuff like, wasn’t it so nice of that man to climb up on the ladder for us to get your formula because there was none left on the shelf.)
  • Paid work. Well, kind of. I didn’t actually do any work today, but it was nice to see some published here.
  • Scored a massive win by convincing the Little Mister to eat two tablespoons of fruit yoghurt mixed with rice cereal. (Even though he didn’t want/enjoy it.) And, although this would have in itself constituted a majorly successful day, I also got a teeny bit of chicken into him by mixing it with LOTS of banana. It made up for his total rejection of carrots and parsnips. So, he almost got all his food groups from solids today, for the first time ever.
  • Took the Little Mister to hang out with other babies his age. He’s getting a little scared by other babies sometimes, so it’s good for him to be around them. He didn’t hang out on the rug with all the toys and little ones much, and he kept crawling towards the front door when it opened, but hopefully there were some important social skills being learnt. We’re still working on being brave.
  • Made sure the little boy had two very longs naps and got to bed on time after a fun splash-a-mayhem bath and lots of books. Not only did he get to rest, recover, and process all the learning he’d done, but I got to bake, clean, work, and catch up on some real news (politics).

Not bad for a day where I went out for coffee and picked up some groceries.

 

White Chocolate and Banana Muffin Goodness

OFTEN in a bowl on the kitchen bench, are a bunch of very ripe bananas. Next to them there’s also usually half a banana still in its skin. Its other half has been mashed and offered up to the Little Mister – to reject or eat a very small amount of as he sees fit.

Through the winter, once we realised the Little Mister would eat bananas more often than any other food we gave him, the unmashed half or three quarters went on our porridge. But it’s summer now, and we keep getting half peeled bananas sitting on the bench for too long. So, I channeled my inner domestic goddess today and decided not only to find a way to use up these endless half bananas, but also to start trying to use up some of the pantry fodder I’d rather we have already consumed than throw out come leaving day.

Lucky Auntie Jane just arrived as the result was pulled out of the oven, and Tony soon came home to a kitchen filled with the yummy smell of baking. After a cuppa, I pondered freezing some of the banana and white chocolate muffins we’d had, but both of my guinea pigs said there wouldn’t be much point – they would be eaten before we needed to think about freezing them. Test passed.

But just as important as being scrumptious and a successful way to use up bananas, the muffins were super quick. From getting the ingredients off the shelf to pulling them out of the oven, they took less than half an hour. So, while the Little Mister slept, I had time to bake delicious treats, have some lunch, drink two cups of tea, empty and unload the dishwasher, wash and sterilise his bottles, do the baking dishes, clean the kitchen, sit down and have a natter with Auntie Jane, and revel in my momentary incarnation as a domestic deity. They’re basically the perfect recipe:

White chocolate and banana goodness

2-and-a-half ripe bananas

125ml rice bran oil

2 eggs

250g high grade white flour

100g brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

175g white chocolate melts, buttons or chips

Mix flour, sugar, and baking soda.  Beat the egg and oil together, and add it to the mix. Mash the bananas and add them in too. Mix. Stir through the chocolate. Spoon the mixture into 15 muffin cases and bake for 20 mins on 200 degrees. Bask in domestic goddess vibes for rest of they day.

I found a version of the recipe on this blog here which also used a teaspoon of baking powder. Oops, I forgot to add it in – but they were still delish.

Enjoy x

Balanced Diets are Over-rated

THEY are sweet, puree up nice and smooth, and gain a little something when steamed with a stick of cinnamon. Pears. The only food the Little Mister will eat.

It’s only since he was eight months that he has accepted any solids at all, so I’m not expecting him to be eating three balanced meals a day. But, I do wish he’d eat at least some savoury foods. Some days are better than others. Often in the morning I get him to eat some yoghurt and rice cereal with his pear. Other sweet fruits also go down quite well as long as they are totally liquidised and the main ingredient in that two tablespoon meal is still pear.

But should I try and mix in some meat or vegetables, he looks at me like I’m trying to poison him. Like I’ve betrayed him. Oh Little Mister, I just want you to eat.

I’ve tried finger food. Grated cheese, a bit of egg, a bit of bread, a bit of corn cracker, a bit of banana. Same result everytime. Gag, choke, vomit. The Little Mister isn’t ready.

So I wait. While his friends eat their lunch around him, we wait. I know all babies end up eating. I know the Little Mister is not starving – in fact, he’s drinking so much formula it’s quite the opposite. But on some days, like today, his total rejection of even a tablespoon of food makes me wish he could just tell me what I am doing wrong.

Then I’d make it better, he’d eat a balanced meal, and then we’d go back to playing toys. And crawling, and clapping, and waving, and trying to climb. Because all that stuff is way more fun than eating, after all.