Aside Posted on Updated on
I don’t eat with cutlery anymore.
Since starting our daughter on solids, I eat with my hands. Exclusively. Publicly. And, for the most part, unapologetically.
Yes, I could probably cut baby-sized portions with my knife and fork and then transfer the pieces to a baby spoon or fork or “spork” to feed her. OR, I could just save myself the time and energy and rip into whatever is on my plate with my fingers so I can squish whatever needs to be squished and feel how hot the hot things are and blow on whatever needs to cool down and shake off any excess drips and then just put the food right into her mouth…
…Okay, see, even though it reads much more complicated than using utensils, it’s actually NOT. I PROMISE. Parents, can you vouch for me, please??!
And like I said, I am mostly unapologetic about it. I have been practicing this form of feeding from the beginning and it works for me and I AM THE MAMA so I’m sticking to it. Until she starts feeding herself, and then I will have to start re-learning for myself how to twirl spaghetti with a fork and cut a steak with a knife.
The only time this practice becomes a problem is when I’m in public – I tend to forget there are social graces which, despite its effectiveness, regard this way of feeding your child as generally not appreciated by the masses.
A recent example:
I was in a right snit on Sunday morning. A snitty, snit-snit mood, more suited to a 3-year old than a 33-year old wife and mother. My daughter wouldn’t nap, the laundry, in all its hugeness, was laughing at me, and it was RAINING. How DARE it RAIN while I was in such a mood! Seriously. My husband – who for no reason other than he was THERE – became the sole target of my wrath. Sensing the bubbling blood rising inside of me, he gently guided me towards the door, and told me with the kindest, gentlest love and compassion to “GET OUT OF HERE BEFORE YOU BREAK SOMETHING WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT BE MY FACE.”
I huffed and I puffed up the street, steam pouring out of my ears, muttering under my breath as I went, like a snitty-faced crazy person, and found myself standing outside my favourite neighbourhood brunch spot IN THE RAIN. “Okay, Barnes,” I muttered snittily to myself, “just go in, have a mimosa and some eggs and CTFD.”
They know me in this place. Well, they know me with my husband and daughter. You see, before she became observant of everysinglelittlethinginthewholewideworld the second we’d step out the front door (“Mama wait, I MUST pick up this leaf! OOH, a CAT! A CAR! AAAA! LOOK, a BUG! MAMA, I MUST PICK UP THIS STICK OR I WILL PROBABLY EXPLODE!!”), we were occasionally able to go out to dinner with her, and this was the place we would usually go – the service is lovely, the food is awesome and it’s right around the corner from our house. We would have her sit nicely in a high chair, and order nice wine and give her pieces of nice, warm bread while she would sit happily and babble adorably to herself and pick curiously at the bread and smile at the waitresses, and then we would go home and feed her her food and put her to bed and, “wasn’t that just a lovely evening, dear?” Then of course, she started seeing everything. Now, we’re lucky to get five minutes of civility out of her before she becomes overloaded with ALL THE THINGS she can see, followed by the inevitable meltdown because we aren’t allowing her to handle ALL THE THINGS while we try and enjoy our meals, and finally the ungraceful stumbling exit from the restaurant. Needless to say, we don’t really go out to dinner anymore, and when we do, it’s a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am-let’s-get-the-bill-and-RUN deal.
So when I showed up alone, looking like a cranky drowned rat, I was met with curious eyes and ushered to a table at the back. The service was still lovely, if overly polite, and I could feel it was on the tip of my server’s lips, “so, where’s the family today?” But she didn’t ask, I imagine out of fear that I had come to my wits end and gone completely loco and tied them up in the basement so I could have 30 minutes to myself. An understandable thought, given the way I looked. I was the crazy Alone Lady at the back of the restaurant, but I didn’t care. I was alone, it was quiet, I ordered a delicious latte and a mimosa and the poached eggs breakfast, and took some deep, therapeutic breaths – I could feel the steam in my head beginning to taper off. The booze was warming, the latte stimulating, and I was slowly starting to feel like me again.
Then, the breakfast arrived.
See, eggs at home are always scrambled. ALWAYS. This way, they are easy to pick up with my fingers and squish and blow on and put directly into my daughter’s mouth. Any other form of egg will just not do – whether poached, fried, soft-boiled (all too runny. God, what’s worse than finding old crusty egg yolk on the floor/table/clothes?? ), or even hard-boiled (okay, chalky, dried-out yolks thrown all over the place might be worse, because of course you think it’s okay to give your kid a piece of the cooked yolk just as they think it’s a toy to THROW! No..? Just me?). The rule of thumb is: Always. Scrambled. Maybe occasionally an omelette – that, too, is easy to handle, but also tricky to cook. Well, for me, anyway. I’m a terrible food-flipper. The spatula is not my friend. But this is a rant for another day/blog.
The plate was put in front of me and it was perfection, exactly what a light brunch should be: perfectly crisp bacon, warm, golden multi-grain toast with a side of homemade strawberry jam, delicate, vibrant greens, and two plump poached eggs. I couldn’t help but wring my hands before diving in. Literally. The toast went down first – the little jam jar was the perfect size to dip torn pieces into. Then the greens, each little leaf a delightful crunch. Then came the bacon, salty, savoury, mouthwatering. Simply delectable. All three of these components were easily devoured with my fingers. I doubt anyone even noticed my fork and knife remained untouched.
But then…then, the eggs. Poached.
Of course, NOW would be the time to pick up the cutlery, the tools that are there SPECIFICALLY to eat such complicated food, and put them to use. I SHOULD have recognized in that split-second that my daughter was not there, that I was feeding myself and, most importantly, that I was in PUBLIC. BY MYSELF. Of COURSE, the part of my brain that was once there to acknowledge such instances, and was once in charge of all logic, should have kicked in and made me reach for the damned fork. But since having a baby, that part of my brain has turned to mush. It is gone. Maybe never to be seen again. And that’s not an excuse, people, it is a MEDICAL CONDITION
(I think)! And it is because of this medical condition that I, without thinking (because that part of the brain is NOT THERE ANYMORE), reached instead for the first slippery, jiggly egg with my HAND AND WAS ABOUT TO POP IT INTO MY MOUTH.
A POACHED EGG.
“What the F***, Barnes.”
SNAP, went my brain.
“Ohmygod………I almost ate a f*cking poached egg with my hands. Oh my GOD! That is so gross. GROSS! Oh, shit. DID ANYONE SEE?!?!” I was instantly the crazy lady again. I started to sweat, scanning the room for any eyes that might have fallen on me at that exact moment, that split-second where I was about to shove a slimy, dripping EGG into my gaping mouth with. My. Hand. I was praying to GOD no one saw. It was just one second of indiscretion! A brain fart! And it was so silent and didn’t ACTUALLY HAPPEN, GUYS……..but did anyone see the almost attempt???
Looking around, all I saw were happy couples and contented families, tucking into their own food like normal human beings, calm and serene, enjoying themselves and each others company. No one was staring at me. There were no aghast faces or babies crying at the scary lady at the back of the room who gobbles food into her mouth like an animal.
No one saw.
“Oh. Mah. Gah.”
And just as I was feeling comfortable again, there was a tap on my shoulder.
My waitress, handing me a plate with a piece of toast, said with a wink, “I have kids, too.”
As she walked away, I gently nudged the egg onto the toast, with my finger, and ate it.
- Down To The Wire. (iamthemamamantra.com)
- Adventures in Baby Feeding, Part 1: First Bites. (iamthemamamantra.com)
- CTFD, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Chaos (themidnightmamablog.com)
- Ctfd (piffle67blog.wordpress.com)