My culinary skills can be summed up by the phrase, “can’t cook, won’t cook”. But this was all about to change. Not only would I cook, but I would actually have food in the fridge that wasn’t a month out of date. This wasn’t because Hubby had left me to fend for myself, it was far worse than that… Mishty was now ready for solid food.
Preparation was key. And by that I mean it was another excuse to shop for cute but useless, overpriced baby things. Everything seemed essential, from highchairs to bibs to kitchen appliances like a baby mouli which I’d never heard of until everyone on Amazon said it was a must have. In reality, the only REALLY ESSENTIAL thing you need is a spoon.
When the time came, I donned my apron and transformed into Delia Smith. I was determined to feed my baby home cooked meals and therefore be a good mother. But after a week of dabbling with pureeing and blending and generally making a huge mess in the kitchen for three tablespoons worth of food, I quickly ditched my now heavily stained and banana splattered apron for ready-made jar food (stop judging me, IT’S ORGANIC).
If preparing food was messy, that was nothing compared to actually feeding it. Here’s what one meal time can be like…
1st spoonful: Mishty sees something bright coming towards him. His curiosity makes him want to lick it so he opens his mouth and in goes the orange puree known simply as ‘Vegetable Medley’. He looks confused and grimaces. This is not milk. He does not know whether he likes it. He looks at me and decides he wants more.
2nd: Mishty swallows slowly and approvingly. I am rewarded with a smile and an excited jig.
3rd: The excited jigging has resulted in the spoon missing the mouth and hitting the eyebrow.
4th: This time spoon hits the target and swallowing is occurring. Mishty’s mouth is starting to look very orange.
5th: Mishty chooses to look down just as spoon tries to enter the mouth and so food is now smushed into the nostrils.
6th: After a successful entry into the mouth, there is a slight pause before Mishty sneezes it out all over me. He is ridiculously happy with himself.
7th: Mishty’s attention span is starting to wane and he is more interested in the spoon. He grabs it with a surprisingly strong grip and as I try to wrench it away, food gets flicked off and narrowly misses my face.
8th: Mishty tries to grab food from the spoon again. It gets on his hands which means it is now on everything within reach including his hair.
9th: Mishty is banging on the tray. His banging manages to catch the bowl and knock it out of my hands – my beige carpet is now being accentuated with orange polka dots.
10th: Mishty starts sucking his thumb and now there is no room for the spoon to enter.
11th: Despite managing to get the thumb out, I am faced with Mishty being more interested in scrunching up his bib and trying to eat it.
12th: I get another successful mouthful in after doing some amazing spoon control manoeuvres to avoid the little hand that is desperately trying to grab the spoon
13th: The mouth is not opening now despite me making exaggerated ‘yum yum’ noises and opening my own mouth really wide in the hope he will copy me. He finds it funny and smiles at me, I take the opportunity to shove it in, he laughs and it all falls out.
14th: He is turning his head away and doesn’t want to do this anymore. His head is bent down to lick the food tray. I try to push his head up which makes him unhappy. He is about to cry so every time he opens his mouth I shovel more food in.
15th: More unhappy noises and I decide to call it a day. I give him the spoon to placate him and go to get a cloth to wipe his face but as I leave the room the crying escalates to hysterical levels. I wipe quickly and there is more crying. There is only one way to save the situation – the sippy cup. As soon as he sees it, he stops and gets excited at the prospect of drinking water. A few sips in and he stops drinking and starts blowing raspberries. Water is dribbling everywhere, it is now a game. He laughs, more water falls out, I give up.
At the end of the feed, he has vegetable puree crusted into his eyebrow that stubbornly does not want to come off, his top is soaked and there is a suspicious amount of food hiding in his neck. I am surrounded by mess and my clothes are stained. But hey, at least I don’t have to cook…!