I’m sure I’ll jinx this by mentioning it on the internet, but it’s too cute for me not to want to preserve it for posterity.
Baby J is a phenomenal eater. Yes, we’re still having trouble with her weight, but it’s certainly not because she’s a picky eater. In fact, she’s less of a fussier eater than my husband, and certainly has a more advanced taste in cheese. (D: the cheap Parmesan powder my mom uses smells bad and I will therefore eat no expensive imported Italian Parmesan because transference! J: *nom nom nom* more please!)
There are only a few things that J’s refused. Millet was one, and I couldn’t blame her – I didn’t like it either. She refused peach puree last summer, while still eating nectarine puree, which seemed weird. We’ll try peaches again as soon as they’re in season, because I love them, and not liking a good juicy ripe peach just seems wrong to me. She also doesn’t like peppers, but I don’t know if that’s because of the taste, or because she only has 4 teeth, and can’t bite through them with her gums. She’s not much of a meat eater, again probably due to lack of chewing teeth – she’s fine if it’s really soft or minced.
And that’s it.
Oh, sure. She went off fruit for a couple of weeks, but she’s back to scarfing down strawberries and raspberries and kiwis and plums and bananas. On a given day, maybe she doesn’t like something. But over all? She’s eat fucking everything and I love it. Notable foods: sashimi, deconstructed sushi rolls, pickles, olives, cooked spinach, lemon rinds, baba ganoush, humus, any kind of veggies + mayonnaise dip, tomato/eggplant/almond pasta sauce, caramelized onions, chili, Indian chickpea curry, green Thai chicken curry, zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, very aged cheddar, and so on. In fact, she’s so cheerfully omnivorous, my slightly insane mother has expressed fear that the kid has no taste buds. To which I just laugh – if you’d ever seen her gleefully scarfing down an entire plate of veggies sauteed in olive oil and a lot of garlic, you’d know that’s just wrong – her thrill at the taste in her mouth is just so clear.
I would like to say that I don’t take full credit here or anything silly. I think I did good at offering a wide variety of foods, early and often. I made my own baby food, so there was an infinitely better variety than the store-bought stuff. (Fennel and white bean puree, orange mango coconut sauce with yogurt, roasted pork and leek and sweet potato mush, curried carrot soup… I had fun in the kitchen.) I make sure that my fussy husband isn’t allowed to say negative things about any food around the baby, ever. I’ve been offering her food off my plate since early in J’s relationship with solid food. We praise her for trying new things, and make an effort for most dinners to include fruit, veg, protein, starch and cheese. (Not, like, always getting there by any stretch, but trying, most of the time. And yes, cheese at basically every single meal for her, in our constant attempt to fend off weight loss.) Her daycare is great – they serve 3 meals a day, and sometimes I’m jealous of how good it sounds. Ricotta pancakes with blueberry coulis, lemon salmon with brown rice and mixed veg, mini turkey burgers, and chicken noodle soup are just a few things I’ve seen on her report cards lately.But really, it’s just that my kid’s an adventurous eater, all on her own, and I think that’s neat, so will do my best to continue to encourage her.
Although, I will grant you that it’s likely she’s growing up to be a food snob like her mother. (Okay, snob’s the wrong word, but I hate the term foodie. I just, you know, like to eat food, and think about food, and talk about food, and try new food wherever we go.) J didn’t take quickly or easily to cow’s milk, which makes sense. I was still nursing 3 times a day, and she’d never taken to either bottles or formula. I finally figured out the (pretentious) serving method guaranteed to make her scarf down milk: heat it in a coffee cup, froth it up nice and stiff, and serve it with a spoon. Yeah, “baby coffee, just like mommy”. You know, minus the espresso that keeps me going. Actually, I think that’s one of the keys for her right now – she’d prefer to eat what I’m eating – we’re in that fun mimic age. Also, frothed warm milk is delightful.
I’m sure that as she becomes more firmly a toddler, her tastes will narrow. Neophobia will rear it’s annoying head, and we’ll deal with that as it comes. I just hope that by having a 15 month old who eats hundreds of things helps when the narrowing of acceptable food stage happens. If she refuses half what she eats these days, that still leaves us with a hundred things to feed her. Much easier than if she only ate dozen of things, and it narrowes to a handful. At least, that’s my hope. I am more than aware I have very limited control over it! Which means, I guess, I should probably serve her some of my childhood favourite pickled herring while I still can…