Thursday, June 5, 2008

Waste Not, Want Not

Today at one sitting Dessi ate:

1/4 of an avocado
1/4 c. oatmeal
1/3 c. mashed mango
1/4 c. prunes

Is this normal? She'll eat this three times daily, plus of course bottles five times during the day. She also talks ("bah bah danah") and smacks her lips together between bites. The child is never so happy as when she's eating. (I mean, look at her little picture. She is so cute!) Or, if we'd let her, overeating. In fact she has never not once ever turned her head aside as if to say, 'oh, no, I couldn't possibly' and refused another bite. The books say we should let her eat all she's worth, but really, she will eat until she literally throws up.


It's a tough call. We want her to know that there will always be food for her, but we also suspect that her first nannies used food as a panacea when she actually probably needed more complicated, time-consuming things, like to be played with or held for a long time. (Not that they weren't good nannies. Just, you get BUSY in an orphanage.) So food has come to represent something other than food to her, and what she really wants to hoard are the fulfillments of those other needs, but she's used to filling them with food. So she feels that she can't get enough.

Or, I don't know. I have no idea. We don't want to give her the sense that there's not enough food for her, but we also feel it's our job to guide her to meet those needs in a healthy way. (She cries when the food is gone no matter what, but when we distract her quickly, she moves on.)

On a separate note, she is also starting to try holding the spoon to feed herself, but I have limited enthusiasm for it. They say you're supposed to let children feed themselves if they want; even though the food will just go all over, they need to practice and develop the hand-eye coordination to do it. But I sort of feel that she should practice the hand-eye thing with blocks or books and not waste perfectly good food. Food isn't a toy. And yet, every single baby book says to let your baby feed herself whenever she wants to try. I don't know. I tried it a little bit today, and it went alright, not too much waste (she's probably as opposed to wasting food as I am, little chowhound that she is!) I don't know -- maybe based on her eating issues, feeding herself would give her a sense of being able to meet her own needs and offer some freedom. No idea. We are Making Things Up here at Chez Young.

Here's a photo of her feeding herself and then chewing on her little spoon.


and here, sucking on a mesh pocket filled with apple chunks. She loves this.


That's not so much food, right? Only she ate THREE of these bowls in one sitting! :)


We are using the Super Baby Food book for reference. My friend Jenny gave it to me, and it rocks. It lists which foods when (and by month, not by three- or six-month groupings), how to prepare my own baby oatmeals and rice cereals (it's so easy -- I just put normal, organic oatmeal in the blender and skip all the packaging and save money), stuff about food allergies, and how to create a balanced diet for toddlers as they wean themselves from milk bottles. (Professional-looking photo though, isn't it?) Anyway, I love it. I read it recreationally.


1 comment:

Katy said...

Hmmmm. This is VERY interesting thinking. I think you are smart to be wondering about it. And I have no idea whether it is cause for concern, or if she'll just soon figure out that the food will always be there, and that you will always be there to fill all the other needs too. You sound like such a good mom. I'll bet there are a billion opinions on it out there. You seem to be doing very well following your instincts. Please keep us posted, as I'm sure lots of people (including me) who read this will deal, or are dealing, with the same or similar questions.

And, re: the Global Giving link, if you click on the word "here" under the video in the Girl Effect post, it will go right to Ethiopia specific projects and you can click on any one of them and read, donate, link to other stuff, etc. Thanks for pointing out the problem with the link.