Sitting in her highchair, bib over head-as mess insurance of course—you got to have mess insurance when you have a baby, or you will be sure to have a puréed food in baby’s hair moment. While you are freaking out standing by her side screaming NOOOOO, because she just took a bath. And that requires a lot of clean up in itself and ahh. Yep. That’s motherhood for you.
My daughter flashes her toothless smile, minus three little teeth that pop out of her gums. One a fang, another at its posterior, while the last lies on her lower right gums. She hisses, getting excited “bah bah.” No it’s not a bottle, it’s a cinnamon raison bagel with butter (let’s say), but bottles are so exciting so I understand what she is getting at.
And actually putting said food into her mouth and chewing on it. Well, that’s an even better sight.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing the joy in my daughter’s eyes when she tastes something she likes. Her almond shaped brown eyes light up, like a crazed Jack-O’-Lantern but in the best way possible. She isn’t thinking about calories, the size of her arm rolls or what people will think of them. She is just thinking dammit mommy, give me more– this tastes delicious. And she eats until her little tummy is full.
Seeing her gnaw on anything takes me back to videos I have seen of myself as a child. It takes me back in snap shots—flashes that I am not sure are my own memories or memories from videocassettes (yes, I am old) snippets. The way a baby chews is so raw, sensual, and fascinating to me. It’s the sweet innocence only a baby could have–eating without fear.
My mom and I recently watched home videos, including a video of me as a baby. I was looking at my mom with adoring big brown eyes, chanting, “Waffles, waffles, waffles . . .” Then came the high-pitched and excited “Waaaaffles!” I was jumping up and down, trying to reach my highchair, where I knew I would get my treat. Mom scooped me up and put me in the chair, and then she placed an Eggo waffle on a plate in front of me. There I was, sitting there eating a waffle—smiling and laughing. I looked so happy. That little girl with curly hair, big eyes, and a wide innocent smile is not the same girl she is today. I strive to be that little girl when it comes to food again. She loved food and was not yet tainted by life’s bullshit. And if her innocence towards food ever wavers in the slightest bit, I will have my daughter watch herself as a baby to remember that exact joy so she can get back to it too.
But for now, I will soak in every moment watching her eat in real time.
Beep, beep I just finished microwaving these Dr. Praeger’s spinach nuggets she loves. She can smell them from a mile away and crawls toward me like a puppy and pulls herself on my legs, begging me for them. The only thing missing is her little tongue wagging from left to right. Never mind, there it is. I calm her down, put the plate down and pick her up. She takes a cut up piece into her tiny hands, putting it into her mouth, and its Jack-O’-Lantern time. She gives raspberries as she swallows making a loud vibrato through her mouth. I laugh.
“What are you doing little bug?” I jokingly question. If she answered, I’d pass out from shock.
She is just enjoying herself. And I relish every moment of her joy. Actually, I am in love with it.