Sunday, March 30, 2014

Feeding Time at the Zoo

HT is loving food right now.  I don't have to check the clock to see if it's mealtime.  HT's little internal food clock starts beeping at 12:00PM and 5:00PM on the dot.  She will start crying, a soft whimper really.  Then she will start her crazy hands; clapping three or four times and then collapsing on the floor  with her tush high up in the air and rubbing her face on her bunny or the floor.  Repeat.  If I don't pick her up now, and get her into the high chair STAT she will progress quickly to what I call "sad, sad sap" phase which is just more crying, more hands failing, demonstrating clearly her Italian roots with each fist pump in the air.

I get her in the chair, and then she starts jumping in her chair, shifting it farther and farther from the table.  At this point, I can literally not get the food fast enough to her.  It's feeding time at the zoo.  HT works herself into a frenzy and is minutes away from ripping off her diaper and throwing feces at me.  And then, all the meal planning that I normally take pride in goes out the window, and I'm essentially throwing food at her to quell her screeches.  I throw baby mum mums, puffs, and cheese while I try to get the food together, running back and forth from fridge to cutting board to table and repeat.  Sometimes, I throw a squeeze packet of food at her which she will suck back in thirty seconds.  She's my very own Joey-Chestnut-in-training.

HT is so excited by the cheese that she starts "screating", basically screaming and eating at the same time, again clapping furiously in between bites.  Maybe she's signing "more," but I think she is so thrilled by every little morsel of new food that she has to clap in approval.  HT cannot eat enough and hasn't disliked a single thing I put in front of her.  She's ravenous, reaching at my plate and at Bean's plate.  She has food in her mouth and "on deck" food in each of her clenched fists at all times.  She actually bobs up and down in her seat like a trained seal.  Her face is a mixture of curiosity and glee.  And the smiles!  She enthusiastically grabs at roast chicken, brisket, omelet.  Everything that I eat, she eats.  I just make the pieces small enough and she enthusiastically gums it.

After the equivalent of thanksgiving day feast, she starts to take the food and pinch in between her two fingers, and then casually lifts it to her mouth, changes her mind and then very deliberately drops it to the right of her chair.  She drops it in the same spot every time, almost as if there's a bull's eye on my kitchen floor.  There isn't.

This is that magical, albeit, brief time that my child will eat anything and it reminds me how much fun meal times can be.  Bean was like this at 10 months too and feeding her was so much fun then too!  Every new food elicited new smiles and sensations.  Now, Bean is older and she's much more independent.  So much of her food angst is just about control and trying to express herself now.  She's a pretty good eater, but some days are better than others and I've grown enough as a chef/mom to let the bad ones go and to not stress as much about it.  When she's hungry, she'll eat.

In the meantime, I have HT who is a my ferocious eater and a nice counter balance to her sometimes finicky sister.  Both kids are teaching me to enjoy mealtimes again, and isn't that the point of eating in the first place?


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