24 January 2010

Food Fight

Look, ma! I can fit six Chex in my mouth at once! (also, I just threw 2 pieces to the dog)

First of all, ever since he learned the sign for “eat,” Eamon walks around making that sign all day long. Please do not be fooled into thinking that we never feed our child—chances are that even though he’s pretending he’s starving, he actually ate 5 minutes ago.

And he’s not really that hungry. Okay, so he goes through growth spurts where I swear he eats as much as most adults, but during the first few days when we actually were just excited that he had started communicating and fed him whenever he asked—he really wasn’t really hungry even though he was signing that he was. Usually he just wanted a specific food, and usually either cereal or graham crackers. If we gave in and fed him those things each time he asked, he never wanted the things he needed to eat, like meats and fruits.

May I have some more, please?

But we are happy that he suddenly wants table food. In Eamon’s never-ending quest to stay a baby as long as humanly possible (despite the fact that he looks about two years old), he’s only just started reliably eating table food. Before, he either wanted Stage 2 pureed things or formula. Don’t think we didn’t TRY to give him table food—we gave it to him ALL THE TIME-- things that we KNEW he liked when they were pureed, so surely he should like them chopped up very small, too. But even though we tried at just about every meal, most of the food went to the dog (He’s sneaky about feeding the dog, too. He waits until you look away for a second and then surreptitiously just sort of hangs his hand down and drops the food. Except then he blows his cover by clapping because he thinks its funny).

But we are happy to announce a turn-around! Eamon has suddenly realized that table-food can be GOOD and it is better to FEED YOURSELF after all! He is now reliably eating: turkey sticks, hamburger, French fries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, steak, flat bread, soy-yogurt, various cereals, and graham crackers (note: not all at the same meal).

But it’s hard. Both our families have a history of allergies, and Eamon definitely has some food sensitivities. The worst so far is egg, which caused actual welts and a really upset stomach. He also appears to be sensitive to milk, tree fruits, grapes, and legumes (though thank God not wheat or soy). His reactions were all variants on rashes and upset stomachs, though nothing life-threatening.

The rascally rogue known as Blackberry Beard will steal your heart. And your berries.

So we have to be careful about what we feed him, and really don’t introduce more than one new food a week. It can take awhile. And I understand his initial resistance to eating table food: some of the table foods made him sick afterwards, unlike formula, so formula must have been better, right?

He’s also growing at a phenomenal rate, and needs a ton of protein to sustain that growth. He’s a tall kid, and though he has a healthy layer of baby fat on him, he’s pretty slender overall (he may not look it during the winter when I dress him in multiple layers of fleece, but reference the bathtime photos). He’s also a pretty active boy who only has his front teeth, which means that 1) he needs a lot of protein, and 2) he doesn’t have the patience required to sit still and chew all the hamburger/steak/turkey sticks he would need to remove formula entirely from his diet.

BUT ANYWAY…the point is that finally last weekend, we went out to a restaurant and were able to order off the children’s menu. We have turned the corner on the food front, which I suppose means we need to start having family dinners now. Hmm….
He was signing for food after finishing 8 oz of formula. He was not hungry.

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