On food choices, teeth, and milestones

My little wiggleworm has become a moving machine. No, he still refuses to move when it comes to crawling, but he loves taking tentative first steps while we hold onto his wiling hands. He gets so plain excited I love seeing his mouth gape open with his nearly toothless grin – yes, a tiny white tooth is now gleaming on his lower gumline . . the lower right central incisor. With his wild hair scattered in all directions his eyes crinkle as his flat flappy feet step to and fro. He sticks his little butt out, then brings it forward, trying to find a center of balance. God help us all when this monkey starts moving on his own. I’m already having to grasp things out of his way, like random spoons or bowls full of food or phones into which I’m trying to get him to speak a few dada da gaaas. . .which he rarely does when asked.

Today he had one of those famously big vomits which used to send T and I rushing for cover. This time I let him have his geyser-like explosion and then took him to the sink to wipe him down. . .and then soon after he drank hungrily again. His favorite game these days is peekaboo. He can’t get enough of having me hide his face slightly with his stretchy knitted blanket, then he whacks it with his hand – THWAP! – and down it goes, and then the huge grins and squeals consume me. I think I am so amazed at him these days that I’m running out of “advice” of a doctor/mother. I am simply in awe of my little munchkin growing and developing. There is nothing to replace this experience, in my experience. 🙂

I find us going through so many things I never understood – like that sense of envy in seeing another child a little more advanced compared to little L and wondering why L isn’t doing what that child is doing yet. Or, on the other side, feeling very proud of a healthy growing one. Better get expectations in check quickly, doc2mom, every child is different and your child is no exception! Just enjoy and be amazed. But I can just picture what it will be like in our future: two Indian parents constantly internally comparing their child to others.

I am realizing one thing, though, about my ability for advice. I think it is coming back to bite me. I once had a patient whose parents had adopted her, and they were very frustrated that, while prior to a short hospitalization she used to eat well, and now she was constantly gagging herself and refusing to eat the food that her mother would give. And as a consequence she was having trouble gaining weight and was quite small. Her mother bemoaned the fact that the child would tolerate small amounts of food at first, but was now sticking out her tongue and making herself gag and choke and was vomiting out the food. Just keep trying, I told her, and as we worked together and she went to a speech therapist for feeding and to a nutritional specialist, the child seemed to be growing well. But by the time she left my care (for greener pastures in a less busy non-resident practice I’m sure) she was still complaining that the child had the same behaviors.

Well, L, you are giving us a run for our money. Whereas some weeks I’ll have great successes with foods, other times I get that gagging baby syndrome. The looks I have seen on his face – after he has tried perfectly reasonable foods whose taste has been approved by mom – shock me every time. Like when he tried some well ground up and rinsed tandoori chicken today – it was pureed so much it was unrecognizable but it actually tasted good, mild and lemony. Well, one trial in the little prince’s mouth and oooh that scrunched up face with puzzled eyebrows, the pursed lips and the tongue sticking out as if to gag, all led me to believe that pureed chicken was probably not first on L’s menu list this week. But then neither was the lovely peach cottage cheese puree I made, nor were the sweet green peas puree, or the mashed potato we tried at a restaurant, just a dab. Can’t figure out the aversion to the green peas puree. . ok, not an aversion, he sort of eats it, but he definitely makes a weird scrunchy face with every bite. I mean, L did love the Earth’s Best Organic green peas puree that I gave him while we were out of town last weekend, and trust me, it tasted no different. Why not have homemade organic peas from mommy dearest?

At least L is finally a fan of ice cold teething biscuits that I made in a recent recipe. He chewed the bejeezus out of that thing and ended up with a few pieces in his mouth which I had to scoop out. Finally, something that passed the test. Now I know that on my second effort for teething biscuits I will have to make them bigger with nice holes to hold onto, to hopefully make them more palatable to my man. I wonder if there is a way to make biscuits that stay somewhat chewy and don’t crumble into a million pieces – any advice, people?