And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.

Happy Christmas. It has been raining non-stop today, and it is fantastic. I’m in central west NSW, in summer, and I’m a little chilly. Outrageous!

It was Devin’s first Christmas, and unfortunately, he had a bad night beforehand, so he was swinging wildly between happy and grumpy all day. For him, it was a just a day where there was more crunchy paper than usual, and where he got to suck on some ham… perhaps the truest meaning of Christmas. This (the ham, not true meanings of Christmas) leads me to the purpose of this entry, which is solid foods. (Or, my baby wants more than milk now, and I am consequently torn between excitement and melancholy.)

About ten days ago, at the same time that we bought some solid food feeding paraphernalia, we picked up this Tommee Tippee Fresh Food Feeder.

Devin seemed interested in putting food in his mouth, but we weren’t sure how he’d handle ‘eating’, so this was a handy compromise. (Or there could be some underlying issue to do with laziness and pulping food myself, I don’t know.) (No, it’s probably not that. It really is handy.)

It is handy, but very messy. Obviously, being only four and a half months old, he hasn’t perfected that hand-to-mouth coordination, so we have to help him. He either holds the ring and we put the mesh to his mouth, or he mushes the mesh in his fist and tries to shove it in. Either way, he gets at least a taste of what’s in there. Banana was first. (“This is a strange, flavoursome thing,” said Devin, scrunching up his face. “But I just can’t stop putting it in my mouth! I guess I must like it.”) Watermelon was a few days later. (“Hmmm,” said Devin. “I’m not sure. I might be too tired to try this properly. I’ll just use it stain my bib.”) Then we put nectarine in it. (“Interesting,” said Devin, pulling the banana face again. “It’s kind of sweet, but kind of sour. Yes, I can abide this. I might eat it all.”) And he did eat most of it, by putting as much as he could in his mouth, then chomping down. Hard.

In amongst all this, he’s also been trying non-mesh-mushed food. Jene and Devin shared a plate of real leg ham, where Devin would gum and slobber on a piece of ham that Jene would valiantly finish before they moved on to the next piece. I wasn’t there, but today I saw first-hand the entusiasm with which Devin embraces a ham opportunity when I offered him some off my plate.

The kid likes ham.

A few days ago, I tried to offer him a small piece of banana out of my hand. He wasn’t having anything to do with it, so I put him on my hip and continued to eat the banana. Devin, apparently overcome by a sudden and premature sense of ownership, decided it was his banana, grabbed a piece of skin and shoved it in his mouth. Then he got both hands around the fruit and crammed it into his mouth. And kept going. He was making a huge mess, and chunks of banana were being flung far and wide, but he was loving it – he’d just wanted to do it himself.

We tried Farex, as an introduction to eating from a spoon, but it would never get past the back of his mouth. It was like trying to sink a ping pong ball. He hated the taste. This evening, we gave him some pureed pumpkin, potato and beef, which was much more successful. The ‘eating’ is (surprise!) not very efficient because he eats like he’s drinking a bottle. And after I managed to get some food in his mouth, he would shove his fist in there after it. But he seemed to like the taste. The rest is just (hopefully) practice.

Evidently, we’re not following any guide to feeding. We don’t have a paediatrician. I relay things I read or hear, but usually we’re just making it up as we go. Perhaps the salty ham isn’t ideal, and maybe introducing fruit first could make it more difficult to start vegetables. But clearly, we’re all having fun.



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