Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Top 5 Things You Should Know About Feeding a Baby

1. Babies will not be tricked into opening their mouths by pretending the spoon of food is an airplane, or a train, or a car or whatever.

Who made us believe that this was true, is what I would like to know? And what 7-month old baby (or any baby under a year, which is when they’re normally being spoon fed by someone other than themselves) even knows what a car or a plane or a train is? My baby does not. Either that or he is extremely anti cars and trains and planes and anything else that makes weird noises and comes flying towards his mouth. Or perhaps he just likes to hear me make a fool of myself in an embarrassing effort to get that little mouth of his to open. “Here comes the train!” I say in my giddy-I’m-excited-because-this-food-is-really-disgusting-but-I’m-pretending-it’s-yummy voice. “Chugga chugga chugga open the tunnel—“ Crash. The spoon/train comes to a dead stop as the tunnel refuses to open. Remnants of the broken train, or what is really blended up squash, go flying all over the cheeks, chin, and nose of the “tunnel”.

2. Dogs have a sixth sense in knowing that being present when a baby is being fed is almost a definite guarantee of getting food.

I’m pretty sure all dogs who live in a house with a baby know this. Andy is no exception to this rule. As soon as he sees that baby sitting in his highchair, out he comes. He positions himself under the table close enough to the baby chair to reach any spilled food in less than one second, but far enough away that I won’t feel like he’s crowding me and punish him by locking him in his cage. There he sits, patiently watching as the spoon goes from the bowl, to the mouth, back to the bowl, back to the mouth. Uh-oh, I dropped some on the floor. Do I need a rag? Nope, there’s Andy cleaning up that mess with his not so sanitary tongue. Uh-oh, I dropped something on the chair leg. Out comes the tongue. Uh-oh, I dropped something on my pants. Out comes the tongue. Uh-oh, I dropped something on the dog’s paw. Out comes the tongue. Uh-oh, the baby smeared food into his ear. Out comes the tongue. In goes the dog to his cage. “No, Andy, you do not lick the baby!!”

3. Putting a bib on a baby is an excellent way of making sure that the collar directly under the baby’s chin does not get dirty. That’s about it.

If someone invented full body bibs, I would definitely invest in them. I feel that regular bibs are somewhat of a joke. For one thing, as we discussed in tip #1, sometimes babies do not open their mouths. This results in food all over chins, cheeks, noses, etc. It probably wouldn’t be so bad if the food just stayed in the general facial feature area. But no. Babies have other body parts that like to get involved in feeding time, too. Such as hands. Little baby hands, though pudgy and a little uncoordinated, are surprisingly speedy. And strong. Those angelic looking hands can shoot from out of nowhere to grab a spoon and fling it to the floor. Babies also like to put their hands in their mouth, no matter if they’re in the middle of eating or not. They don’t care. What difference is a handful of slobber compared to a handful of slobbery applesauce? Not much to a baby. And once they get that slobbery applesauce on their hands, forget it. Now they’re rubbing their ear and their eyes and occasionally reaching up to their heads to really ensure they’ll get that bath. Andy, who is punished in his cage for you know what, is looking at that mess with such desire in his eyes that I almost wish it was appropriate to just let him at it. Dog saliva, a clean rag. . . is it really such a big difference?

4. Babies get distracted very easily.

If you expect a baby sit patiently in their chair and give you their undivided attention spoonful after spoonful. . . you’re very wrong. Well I suppose some babies might be so into the food that if you don’t feed them fast enough they’re shrieking with anger, but my baby is not. He’s into the world around him, and eating food is just an added bonus. Every time he eats he sits in that high chair and stares around the kitchen like it’s a brand new world he’s never seen before. First he’s fascinated with looking out the window. Then he’s staring at the table. I finally get him to take a bite and suddenly the dog is there. I feel like saying, “You’ve seen that dog every day of your life. Please eat your food.” Okay, sometimes I do say it. I beg it actually. “Pleeeeeease eat your food.” Nothing. Not even a glance my way. The dog, the dog. Oh, now it’s my shoes. He looks at my shoes, watches as my crossed foot swings back and forth. So I stop moving my foot and get him to take another bite. Then another, and now three in a row. That’s sometimes a record for us. But then Brice walks in and all is lost. But while Jace smiles and coos at his daddy, I shovel the food in like there’s no tomorrow. I don’t even think baby Jace is aware he’s being fed. Oh, and now he’s spotted my moving foot once again and he leans forward to get a better look. Sometimes I try pushing his chair right up against the table so that he can’t lean forward very far because the table is in the way, but that usually results in him banging his head on the table because he leans forward anyway. And trying to feed a baby while he’s crying and screaming isn’t very effective either. Another method I’ve tried is turning his chair in the opposite direction he’s staring, so then no matter how far he turns his head to look at something, he’s still looking at me. That’s works for a little while but then he gets interested in something on the other side of the room and I’m back to square one. I’m at my wits end. So for the one hundredth time, “Chugga, chugga, chugga. . .”

5. Babies are sneaky.

Never underestimate a baby. Never think that something is out of reach for a baby. It will be reached, and if it’s during feeding time, it will not only be reached, but will be reached with slobbery applesauce covered hands. Never trust a baby. I learned this the hard way—not once, not twice, but three times. Jace was wiggling in his chair, leaning forward towards his bowl of food. If he could talk I’m pretty sure he’d be saying, “Please, Mommy, I just want to look in it. I just want to see what’s inside that bowl. What color is my food? That’s all, Mommy” His looming brown eyes were trying to peer so hard into that bowl that I gave in. I moved the bowl toward him. “Look at your food, Jace. You’re almost done, baby boy.” Smack. Attack of the sneaky hands. I thought they were innocently at his side. I was wrong. Before I knew it he smacked the bowl and my unprepared grip did nothing. It went clattering to the floor, rolling around under the table, trailing rice cereal mixed with bananas the whole way. Congratulations, Andy, your patience has paid off.
The hands have attacked twice since the first time. That little boy and his pleading eyes and face know how to sucker me like nothing else. The second time, I completely forgot about how quick those hands could be. Andy got a helping of carrots. The third time I tried to show Jace what was in the bowl, I kept a strong grip. He smacked. I gloated. “That’s right, baby boy. Not this time.” But he got me on the return. As I brought the bowl back towards me he kicked. Direct hit. The bowl went flying. Pears for Andy.

Sometimes in Idaho. . .

Sometimes in Idaho sheep are herded down the middle of the road. Then you have to stop and wait for all the sheep to pass by you and suddenly you are in a river of sheep. When you look forward and see all those sheeping heading towards you and parting in the middle as they continue on both sides of your car, you might even feel like you are Moses; only instead of parting the Red Sea, you're parting the Sheep Sea.

Christmas in Texas

Christmas in Texas means a visit with Grandma and Grandpa. It also means seventy degree weather and mostly sunny skies. A non-white Christmas doesn't really feel like Christmas, so although the snow is annoying sometimes because you just might get stuck in your own driveway, we really do love it.

Christmas in Texas means, "Cause I'm keeping it, real, cause I'm keeping it real" with Uncle Seve's hat on. Seve, can you name that movie? Or anybody else?

And finally Christmas in Texas means fun new toys and wonderful time with family!

A Photo Shoot With Santa's Newest Reindeer

One of Santa's new reindeer looks less than eager to start his new job. Shape up, Andy, or we'll make you wear those antlers for the rest of your life.