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