Okay, okay, so she's not actually a baby sulcata tortoise, but I think she and the tortoise would have a lot to talk about. I'm certainly not concerned that Lavender seems to be an inexpert eater-- she's six months old, and nursing round the clock, so eating solid food at this point is purely recreational. But oh, she wants to. She sits in her high chair at mealtimes, smacking her lips imploringly at her chewing, swallowing family members. It's hard not to sympathize.
About a week ago I went on a baby food-making bender, and our freezer is now stocked with enough mashed apple and sweet potato to feed a veritable infant army. We've barely made a dent in our ample supply, because so very little of the food actually makes it into Lavender's stomach. The first hurdle is getting her to open her mouth, which inexplicably clamps shut right about the time I have finished heating a tiny bowl of mushy vittles and am sitting down to feed her. My knee-jerk reaction is to make all sorts of Jim Carey-esque faces, although I'm aware of a small voice in the back of my mind telling me that this has never once caused her to open her mouth. Eventually of her own accord Lavender opens up and I swoop in with the spoon, at which point I encounter the second hurdle: her tiny, ninja-quick hands. Suddenly she has the dexterity of a concert pianist and is hell-bent on inserting that spoon directly into her nose. If I can manage to reclaim the spoon before all of the food has been spilled, then I can proceed to hurdle number three: getting the food to stay in Lavender's mouth. The second the spoon touches her tongue her face contorts in surprise and displeasure; imagine the tragedy mask of ancient Grecian theater. Any puree that made it in comes dribbling right back out again. I proceed to feed her the exact same bite of food about fourteen times, at which point it is indistinguishable from her own saliva and she happily swallows it. Aaaaaaaand scene.
I had forgotten what it was like to feed a baby. My foolish brain edited out the goofy faces, the awkward hand-spoon-mouth angles, the giant, giant messes. My recollection of feeding Geneva is mostly of us scarfing down cream of wheat together out of pretty Christmas dishes. I think I idealized those early meals because, frankly, it got so much more challenging. Next came the Dropping Food on the Floor Phase, the Oh My God, Are You Choking? Phase, the Eating Everything Including Sand Phase, the I Don't Know Which is Worse, Using Your Fork or Not Using Your Fork Phase, the Requesting Every Imaginable Condiment Phase, and Geneva's current Phase: May I Be Excuuuuuuuuuuused? So I know I have my work cut out for me. Lavender may even invent new phases I haven't yet experienced. Then in two years when she's contriving all sorts of excuses to leave the table, I can look back with fondness on the days when, although she stunk at it, she loved sitting at the table and sharing a meal with me one painstaking bite at a time.
Oh look, cream of wheat in Christmas dishes! I'm nothing if not predictable.
I'm including this one only because it fits in with the title of the blog post. Nana was taking a well-earned Christmas Nap when Geneva decided to line up the various components of a plastic sandwich on her sleeping form. Some cruel person (me) decided to photograph rather than intervene.