Wednesday, May 26, 2010
The Worst Vice Ever Invented
"Good taste is the worst vice ever invented." - Edith Sitwell
Zephyr and I have embarked on adventures in culinaria. It's as much fun for me to think up what to make for him as it is for him to taste so many new things. Every day at dinner I feel like I'm getting another chance to blow his mind. And so far, he's shown a great appreciation for everything I've prepared for him. What can I say? The kid has good taste.
New foods this week:
Carrots with fresh-grated turmeric, ginger and orange zest
Sweet potato with curry and cinnamon
Millet (cooked very soft and pureed with breastmilk)
Banana with walnut oil and nutmeg
Baby taku choy (a greener version of bok choy) with coconut milk, galangal, lemongrass and lime juice, served with rice
Grilled cheese and tomato-roasted red pepper soup (I sprinkled rice cereal and grated cheddar into the soup)
I cook his dinner while we wait for Scott to come home, and then freeze leftovers in an ice cube tray. Now we have bags of delicious dinner cubes in the freezer for lazier days (like this summer), or for when Scott's in charge, or for when Zeph starts really teething - I can just pop a food cube into his mesh teether and let him at it. Tonight will either be fresh favas with butter and mint or kabocha squash with shiso and sesame oil. Then I'll chill out on the feeding frenzy.
I've been reading a lot about various recommended first foods for babies and about complimentary feeding. There is actually no scientific evidence that shows that babies should not eat protein foods, classically allergenic foods in particular, and the AAP has changed their recommendations based on a 2008 study. Keeping babies away from peanuts does not reduce their chances of developing peanut allergies (same goes with wheat, dairy, eggs, or fish) and they can actually handle meat, dairy and vegetables just fine (only really acidic foods should be avoided). Babies who are allergic will show signs of their allergy via breastmilk (though breastfeeding can reduce the severity of reactions). Turns out, rice cereal is a first food out of tradition only. I wonder if Gerber had anything to do with that?
It's funny, the traditional first foods (rice, applesauce, bananas) are not really ideal at all because they can cause constipation - three of the four foods in the so-called "BRAT" diet, meant to stop diarrhea, are bananas, rice and applesauce (toast is the T). I notice a difference right away when Zephyr eats only apples, rice or bananas. He hadn't crapped in three days before I made him the greens in an attempt to flush him out, and it worked! A big smudge of cud just scrubbed his little colon right out and showed up in his diaper looking nearly identical to how it did going in.
I believe firmly that exposing infants to different flavors and textures is the easiest (only?) way to develop a young palate. Too many parents treat babies like they're stupid, unadventurous or dull, and then complain when they won't try anything new. One of my biggest pet peeves is a picky eater, and I'll be damned if my own spawn turns his nose up to my cooking! (The greatest irony is that I am eating a bowl of boxed mac and chee as I type this.)
Today is Zephyr's 6 month birthday. What is that, a hexamester? Things are putting right along - he's *this* close to sitting up by himself, which is exciting news for his playtime options. Right now he spends most of his waking hours upright in the exersaucer or on the belly or back on his play mat, so it'll be really cool when he can sit up and play with blocks or whatever strikes his wee fancy. This morning he lunged for his toes and toppled forward. He's unfazed by these minor setbacks, and just keeps trying.
Speaking of setbacks, he has this new thing where when I try to put him down for his nap he starts crying. Really angry, guttural crying. It kills me to hear it, but as soon as I pick him up to comfort him he just starts grinning, "Yay! She's back!" So I have to just let him protest, even though it's the hardest thing in the world to hear. I think he's starting to hit his attachment peak, and even though I stay there for awhile, rubbing his back, he just gets so pissed that I'm leaving him alone. That, or he's just not interested in sleeping (even though I can tell by his droopy eyes and slowed movements that he needs a nap). Maybe I need to get him a bit drowsier before I put him down.
A couple days this week he's gotten up at 6:30, throwing off the nap schedule for most of the day. This means he wants his first nap at 8:00, wakes at 10:00 or so, and then I have to squeeze in two shorter naps instead of just one long afternoon nap. It's annoying to watch the clock and have to wake him to keep him on schedule, but I really think he needs to stay on schedule at least until he shows me he can stay awake for more than two hours. Hasn't happened yet. I'm looking forward to being able to spend a little more time with him, taking strolls that aren't hurried or task-oriented, or just hanging out. Being home with him is really starting to get fun.