The Food Report

Currently, the absolutely worst part about owning a baby is the feedings. Not the breast or bottle feedings — there’s nothing too tricky about that after the first couple of weeks. I’m talking about the food feedings. The three-times-a-day, get-that-the-hell-away-from-my-mouth, what-makes-you-think-I-need-to-eat, applesauce explosion, extravaganza. Please note that in the prior sentence, the word applesauce may be replaced with yogurt or blueberries or carrots. You know, just whatever happens to stain the worst on any given day depending on what you’re wearing.

For those that don’t have kids, you might ask, “Why is it so hard to feed a baby?” Well, have you ever tried to get a cat to swallow medicine? No? Don’t have cats? OK, have you ever tried to shovel a spoonful of food in the mouth of a stranger on a bus? Yeah, that’s it. Now you’re with me.

From Trixie’s perspective I can only imagine that she thinks I’m trying to poison her. The second I strap her into the highchair, she starts hollering and getting revved up. It doesn’t matter whether its the sweetest tasting baby carrots or big bowl of spicy chili*. She starts shaking her head back-and-forth “NO” before I can get the spoon anywhere close to her mouth.

Her behavior has lead us to an evolutionary struggle. I’m constantly creating new games, distractions and outright tricks and she’s developing resistance to my attacks after only a few bites.

In general, games don’t work so well. She doesn’t go for the “here comes the airplane” thing. Sometimes we’ll play the game where she throws something on the floor and laughs, laughs, laughs. This is good because it’s pretty easy to stick food in there when she’s cackling. But she’s not always in such a hilarious mood.

Tricks have the shortest life. My favorite was when I would throw a couple of Cheerios on the tray. She would meticulously pinch one and bring it toward her open mouth. In that split second I could shove a spoonful of peas in there. Poor kid. It was such a confusing experience. This deception would only work about two times before she would stop picking up Cheerios at all and just sit there with her mouth sealed shut glaring at me.

Distractions seem to be the way to go. I’ve cycled through every utensil in the kitchen drawer. Ice cream scoop, bottle opener, chop sticks, spatulas and even the jigger. Each of these is good for at least a half-dozen spoonfuls. Recently I discovered the holy grail of mealtime distractions: ice. She gapes openmouthed at the ice as if it were the Hope diamond — for like ten minutes. By simply holding an ice-cube in my hand while letting her paw at it, I can get her to eat an entire jar of baby food. It’s pretty amazing.

Of course, I doubt this will work forever. All ice melts. But when the time comes, I’ve got a back-up plan – something that in Trixie’s eyes is even more sacred and sought after than a brilliant, glinting chuck of ice. Its mellifluous jingling is a Siren song. That’s right, it’s the car keys.

* We don’t feed the baby chili.

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19 Responses to The Food Report

  1. Kelli says:

    I love how you have to put in the addendum “*We don’t feed the baby chili.”

    I worked at a daycare one summer while in college, and my job was to feed the three youngest babies in the infant room. One of them was on a bottle – no problem! But the other two (twins) had started “solids.” They would scream like I was killing them the entire time I was feeding them. Somehow, they managed to ingest some of the baby food. The worst part was, however, that one of them had a bad case of reflux, and he would often vomit (not spit-up – vomit!) up whatever he had eaten. Poor kid.

    Perhaps Trixie will like mealtime more once she gets to the all finger foods stage and you’re not having to force feed her. She has that look of independence about her.

  2. Shawn says:

    lol…i HAVE given allison chili, and she loved it…at first. i know it may be a little early but try frozen peas, small enough she wont choke, put very engrossing.

  3. John says:

    It’s time to let Trixie feed herself. Colum was refusing food until we realized her wanted to feed himself – now he eats like a champ again. That means a lot of cubing and slicing on my part, but it’s worth it.

    Things Colum loves:

    peas
    blueberries
    toast
    toast dipped in egg yolk
    chicken

  4. FrumDad says:

    I think John’s got a good point here.

    At first Rachel was all about the baby food, and then at some indeterminate point it became all about the spoon. For a while giving Rachel a spoon to wave around (and with which to hit herself, occassionally, about the head and face) was enough to make her happy while we did the shoveling. But that ended once she put together the facts and realized that *her* spoon wasn’t the *food* spoon, which she found unacceptable.

    Rachel’s thing wasn’t shaking her head no (although she is getting a lot of practice with that skill as well, thank you) but (a) accepting a mouthfull and spitting it out (I’m going to have to take the blame for that one, having done that with a particularly hot piece of food a couple of times) or (b) waiting for the spoon to be in range and then a double-handed “wax-on,wax-off” block that Ralph Maccio would be proud of.

    Now we pretty much cut things up small and let her have at it. It takes longer, and is a lot messier, but the net volume of food that makes it inside the baby has gone up significantly. And she seems to be enjoying it more, and therefore, so are we.

    –FrumDad

  5. Maddie's Mom says:

    I agree with the previous posters. Maddie is one week older than Trixie and she started refusing baby food well over a month ago. She pretty much eats all “grown-up” food now, with the exception of Baby Yo yogurt. She can eat an entire small can of vegetables. (I started with canned veggies just because they’re softer). I just sprinkle a few at a time on her tray and she gets most of them into her mouth. Have Trixie try string cheese, well-cooked vegetables, chopped up fruits (bananas and cantaloupe win out here). Maddie also loves whole grain waffles with almond butter, toast, bagels. Maddie also loves raisins, but they’re the corn of babyhood, if you get my meaning. It makes meals much, much messier, but a lot more fun for baby and mom.

  6. benmac says:

    I’m beginning to see a trend here. I guess it’s time to release Trixie back into the wild.

    Just to provide a more balanced picture, I do want to say that we have been giving her finger foods such as blueberries, beans, pasta, plums, broccoli and toast. It just never seems that she eats enough of it which is why I resort to the spoon-feeding. However, I guess I have to let her play with everything longer and get even messier for it to work. Thanks to everyone for all the advice!

  7. Carol says:

    Maybe it’s the confinement of the high chair she doesn’t like. How about sitting her on your lap (wearing wash & wear obviously). Maybe prop her up on a kitchen chair with a couple of phone books and a seat belt.

  8. hannah says:

    You are cracking me up – putting mouth in food of stranger on a bus – you nailed it. Sounds like you’ve come up w/lots of good tricks and distractions – isn’t it exhausting and then demoralizing when they wear off so quickly? I like the let her throw it on the floor and shove in the food while laughing technique as well as the shove it in while she’s going for a Cheerio – no wonder she glares at you, that one is really low down and dirty. I must say that even before I read the posts I was thinking: time for Trixie to feed herself. It is annoying b/c it takes longer, but I think that, coupled w/the car keys, it may just be the ticket. Suggestions for finger foods:
    veggie burgers, veggie burgers, veggie burgers (Garden Burger Original variety only for Sophie).
    good luck – hannah

    p.s. sophie never went for that airplane thing either – maybe it’s just a tv/movie fantasy thing to trick unwitting people into having babies

  9. Rach says:

    You ever think maybe she’s not hungry? 😉 It’s not too hard to get a hungry baby to eat.

  10. Leslie says:

    This sounds familiar. Gave up completely on my ten month old and spoon feeding (more appropriately deemed spoon dodging or feeding the dog) Just moved entirely to finger foods. Can a child survive on nilla wafers, cheese chunks, and steamed zucchinni alone? I’ll keep you posted.

    Thanks for the blog,

    Leslie

  11. lori&scott says:

    IÂ’m loving your website more and more! IÂ’m still in the process of reading through from day one. I have to admit, when I first found TTU, I laughed myself hysterical – tears were running down my face! But as I read on, the reality of having a baby started sinking in and began to overwhelm me, almost to the point where it frightened me (not to worry, IÂ’d already had my own pre-conceived ideas). I was even contemplating the whole baby thing. But that didn’t last long. TTU has given me the most wonderful insight about bringing a baby into the world. I’m more excited now than ever to have one of our own!

    IÂ’ve been reading daily since the 2nd of June. Partly for it’s entertainment value, but more so for the valuable educational lessons. I’m now taking notes for future reference. BTW, (my husband) found your site via Yahoo! It was their favorite site of the day. IÂ’ve shared it with many friends: single, parents-to-be and parents with adult kids. TheyÂ’ve all given it rave reviews!

    It’s a little early, but have a wonderful 1st Father’s Day, Ben! (Sorry, Jenn, I missed Mother’s Day by a couple weeks.) Despite all the critics out there, TTU is absolutely amazing and is probably THE Best Baby’s “Scrapbook” ever! Trixie will surly cherish this when she gets older.

    Thanks for sharing Trixie’s world with us!

  12. lori&scott says:

    IÂ’m loving your website more and more! IÂ’m still in the process of reading through from day one. I have to admit, when I first found TTU, I laughed myself hysterical – tears were running down my face! But as I read on, the reality of having a baby started sinking in and began to overwhelm me, almost to the point where it frightened me (not to worry, IÂ’d already had my own pre-conceived ideas). I was even contemplating the whole baby thing. But that didn’t last long. TTU has given me the most wonderful insight about bringing a baby into the world. I’m more excited now than ever to have one of our own!

    IÂ’ve been reading daily since the 2nd of June. Partly for it’s entertainment value, but more so for the valuable educational lessons. I’m now taking notes for future reference. BTW, (my husband) found your site via Yahoo! It was their favorite site of the day. IÂ’ve shared it with many friends: single, parents-to-be and parents with adult kids. TheyÂ’ve all given it rave reviews!

    It’s a little early, but have a wonderful 1st Father’s Day, Ben! (Sorry, Jenn, I missed Mother’s Day by a couple weeks.) Despite all the critics out there, TTU is absolutely amazing and is probably THE Best Baby’s “Scrapbook” ever! Trixie will surly cherish this when she gets older.

    Thanks for sharing Trixie’s world with us!

  13. Max'sMom says:

    I’ve been reading your site for awhile (ever since the N&O article), but this is my first post b/c I am sick of the “feeding the baby” tediousness too. My little man is 16 m.o. and LOVES to eat (feeding him is not the problem), I’m just so sick of cleaning up after him. Wiping down the chair, the baby, the tray, the floor…at least 3-4 times a day is SO boring. I find myself zoning out like some Stepford-wife-version of myself lest I lose my mind. “Calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean…find my happy place” as my son lobs peas and blueberries in my direction…sighn. Thanks for sharing your vents!

    P.S. I agree with PPs, Trixie may be happier feeding herself–my little man was like Ghandi until I let him at the finger foods. Now he’s like a stoner at an all-you-can-eat (with your hands!) buffet!

  14. MomOf4 says:

    I’ve been enjoying reading your accounts and observations of Trixie’s developments for a couple of weeks now. I have to add a food suggestion that my 13 m/o loves-avacado; it makes a nutritionally perfect & delicious snack. You might just find that your little gecko enjoys them.

  15. Tiger Spot says:

    Clearly she isn’t eating because you’re trying to feed her *baby* *food*. Seriously, have you tried it? It’s nasty.

    The one time I was in charge of feeding an infant semi-solid foods, he didn’t want to eat the nasty stuff either. So I gave him some of my sandwich. That he liked.

  16. Jennifer says:

    I totally agree with the previous posts. Trixie is ready to take charge of her own mealtime destiny. I do have two additional comments… if you have a balcony or deck, maybe let her eat outside, certainly cleanup would be easier. Also, my pediatrician says a baby’s appetite can drop off dramatically around their first birthday which we all know for Trixie is rapidly approaching. I obsess about how much my 14 month old eats also but generally I think they let you know when they’re hungry.

    Additional food suggestions: drinkable baby yogurt (if she’s doing yogurt yet), cereal bars (they’re soft, sweetish, and nutritious), frozen mixed veggies (like peas and carrots – then you don’t have to dice).

  17. Robert says:

    Too Funny!!! GREAT Work and SOOOO True (Referring to the baby feeding tricks.)
    Robert… Father of 7

  18. CarolineAdele says:

    Sleep Logs. You mentioned you missed doing charts and graphics. I can only imagine they are more time consuming than just the written word, but i’ve been admiring and finding solace in the sleep logs because they seem to be normalizing. As someone potentially approaching parenthood, i would love to see when the sleep chaos became something like a routine. This is what scares me the most about parenting at this point and your graphs could help provide some needed data.

  19. S Jobin says:

    The distraction thing works great for highchair time – I turn on Sam’s favorite (recorded) tv show – either Teletubbies or Bear in the Big Blue House. He is so engrossed that he will open up and eat whatever comes his way, even the stuff he normally fusses about!