A week and a half ago, James’ pediatrician gave us the green light to start solid foods. “Solid” is kind of a generous term for the first food that a baby eats. But that’s what the pediatrician called it, so let’s go with it. Babies can either start with baby oatmeal (finer cut than regular oatmeal) or with single ingredient pureed fruits and vegetables. We opted to start with vegetables.
We waited to give this a try until after our trip to Texas because we didn’t want any digestive issues while we were traveling. Baby’s first flight is stressful enough without worrying that he’ll have a whole new kind of mess on the plane, the likes of which we had never seen. James loved Texas so much that he decided to stay awake almost the entire time we were there. Yay! That was a rough weekend, but we all survived. After another week of work, we were ready for our first food adventure this weekend.
Dan assembled the high chair. I washed the little glass baby food jars and the little spoons that turn white when the food is too hot. I got out James’ Saturday/Samedi bib from the set of English/French day of the week bibs that my aunts gave me for my baby shower. Dan bought organic carrots. I peeled, chopped and put the carrots into the steamer basket.
If you’ve never steamed vegetables before, it works like this. You put a little bit of water in the bottom of a pot. You put in a steamer basket or an insert that holds the vegetable above the water so that they are cooked by the steam as opposed to boiling in the water.
But I didn’t put enough water in the bottom of the pot. If the water cooks off, the heat isn’t transferred to the food because it isn’t touching the food. In this situation you literally cook the pot. I ruined the carrots, ruined the pot, and made the whole house smell horrible. Nothing like the smell of bubbling non-stick material to brighten up a weekend afternoon.
I got a little too upset about this mishap. I was annoyed about the pot because it was a nice pot. It was part of a set that I received as a college graduation present from my uncle. He really knows his way around the kitchen and believes in investing in quality tools. But way beyond the annoyance about ruining the pot, I was disappointed that we wouldn’t be able to give James the carrots that day. I had been looking forward to this day since James’ two-month appointment when the pediatrician said we would talk about starting solids at the four-month appointment. The day had finally come and I messed it up.
The next day we tried again. I put away the Saturday/Samedi bib and got out the Sunday/Dimanche bib. I took another pot out of the cabinet and vowed to not destroy this one. I put a lot more water in it than I had the day before. This time it worked out. I steamed the carrots until they were soft and then pureed them in our Ninja blender.
James did exactly what babies do in this situation. He kind of pushed at the spoon with his tongue. He made faces of surprise and disgust. What little amount of carrot he allowed to be put in his mouth he slowly spit out. It was fun to watch and we wanted to share it.
A few of our family and friends had asked for video of the occasion because kids make such funny faces when they try new foods. Dan set up his phone to take video of the whole thing but ended up capturing five minutes of my arm. So I guess I’m not the only one who couldn’t’ get it together to make this the perfect experience. Luckily, Dan took lots of good shots with our camera.
It’s been amazing watching James become aware of the world around him and experience things for the first time. I try to picture what it must be like to constantly discover new sensations, new abilities, new feelings. I imagine the only somewhat similar adult experience is traveling to completely foreign places where you don’t speak the language, don’t recognize the scenery, and have never tasted or smelled the cuisine. But even then, it’s not the same because adults at least have a frame of reference.
As I sit typing this, James is asleep. I’m watching him on the baby monitor. I hope that he will be an adventurous eater. I hope that he’s always open to trying new things. He didn’t love carrots the first time he tried them. That’s okay. He has his entire life ahead of him to learn to love different foods, different people and places. The whole world is there for him to experience. I’m excited for him.