So: as a food enthusiast myself, I was pretty confident that my offspring would follow keenly in my footsteps. I have a (now) 8 month old daughter and, following the sage advice of the World Health Organisation (don’t you know), I exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months. Fending off ‘ooh she looks
hungry’ and ‘she wants what you’ve got’ from all angles for at least 2 months of that, I felt rather smug, knowing that for once I was in friendly territory and was almost definitely The One Who Knows Best. Sleeping? God only knows how to tackle that one. But eating? Oh yeah, eating was where I would show my worth as a parent. I would wait, but then I would be all over it, the second I whipped out my home made wonder mum recipes at Day Zero: Month Six there would be no looking back. My mum had done it with me, and it would be no different for my children.
So at 6 months I was ready for weaning, armed from head to toe with plastic spoons a plenty, small tupperware pots (you can’t have too many by the way) stick blenders, bibs – prepared and waiting for the food fight.
The first days went fairly well, trying the baby rice out for size (apparently it’s all about texture) then we progressed to parsnip puree, then sweet potato at which point my freezer started to fill up with tiny pots of labelled mush. I was incredibly proud of myself for the labels by the way. And then I noticed this starting to happen:
The spoon travels to her mouth and her mouth clamps shut
The spoon travels to her mouth, her mouth clamps shut and her head turns away
The spoon travels to her mouth, her mouth clamps shut and she pushes the spoon, somewhat aggressively, away.
She was making herself pretty clear. And it seemed to happen more, the more effort I had put in to making her dinner. Butterbean and kale hummus, for example, was a disaster (I would share the recipe with you…but). She wasn’t mad keen on my porridge either. (Still isn’t in fact – and she gets it every day).
And before someone comes and smashes my door down with a baby led weaning placard, I tried that too. Ok, I may not have done it by the book but I’ve given her a fair few chances. She’s gone down the ‘hold a piece of broccoli in her hand for 10 minutes until its body temperature, smash the majority onto the table and drop the remainder on the floor’ route a few times and to be fair she is quite partial to a bit of bread and butter (who isn’t?!) but it didn’t exactly set the weaning world on fire for us.
And then one frantic day I cracked open one of Ella’s Organic pouches as a last resort and. she. loved. it. She couldn’t get enough of the stuff. After all of my effort, the bloody ready meal won the day.
And here I have to wonder, why don’t I just give her what she clearly wants? And I realise that this is a question that parents must ask themselves over and over again. And I realise, as I ponder, that it’s because they are NOT IN CHARGE! (NB when it comes to sleep, this point is debatable).
So at Month Eight, here I sit and I am not beaten. She is not getting an Ella’s pouch every day, although it’s nice to know they’re always near… I console myself that Ella (whoever this genius is) must have tried for years to get those recipes down. I still make a bowl of porridge daily (which almost always gets eaten by me). And I still haven’t chucked away the plastic pots labelled ‘lentils’. Because I know that one day far in the future we will sit down together, by the light of a sunset, with a glass of wine and a bowl of butterbean and kale hummus and we’ll laugh about these days and she’ll thank me for my hours spent tending to home made lentil stew and be eternally grateful for all of my efforts in making her the healthy, happy, food lover that she is.
And then she’ll subject her own poor children to the same fate.