As I have stated in the past, Maddie is a spectacular eating machine. She has mastered a wide variety of foods across the eating spectrum. She tears into each bite with an unbridled exuberance that is difficult to properly describe. But there are days when her eating is just for show.
These are the dog days of eating when you don’t discover that the baby wasn’t actually eating until you lift her up. It turns out that our 40-minute eating session this morning was nothing but a mirage. Maddie the illusionist seemingly destroyed multiple chunks of banana, watermelon and bagels. I was sitting right there in front of her watching her place the chunks into her mouth and go to work.
I noticed a few pieces fall by the wayside down into the depths of her lap, but didn’t really give it a second thought. Sometimes there is a little collection of chewed food to pick through after Maddie has been sprung from her chair. I expected some cleanup after our meal today, but I was not prepared for the power and the glory of what Maddie had compiled today.
I removed the high chair table and stopped dead in my tracks. Maddie’s bare legs were camouflaged in this morning’s full array of breakfast. From the waste down, it appeared as if Maddie’s legs were made of fruit and bread. It was like a three layer baby bean dip with exotic watermelon pinks on top, creamy banana in the middle and a flaky crust of wet bagel dough as a base covering her skin.
The watermelon pieces were all chewed down to about the size of raisins and the bananas looked to be straight out of a blender. The bagel doe was not as refined as the rest of the dish, but it was still most impressive. What strikes me is that this was all somehow put together while I sat right in front her while her hands were placed on top of the table.
When I lifted Maddie out of the chair, even more ingredients began spilling out from hidden places all over the floor. It dawned on me that I never got to taste this baby dip, but the grades are in. Maddie scored high marks for execution and presentation and an “A+” for stealth and sneakiness.
Apparently Maddie’s father (StayHomePaPa) has been quite guilty of doing everything for the baby and not letting her learn to do things for herself. Especially when it comes to crawling and feeding. This may be true to some degree, but I’m working hard to turn some of these trends around.
My newest project is to get Maddie to hold her own bottle while she’s drinking milk. So far this has been an exercise in futility. Maddie acts like Smeagol aka Gollum from Lord of the Rings when she assumes control of her bottle.
The bottle is her “Precious.” She talks to it, hugs it, swings it around and even nips at it. This afternoon she whapped me with the bottle and then launched it across the room, but not before spraying milk all over her face and the couch.
The one thing I can’t get her to do with “precious” is actually drink from it. Once she gets her paws on the bottle, everything morphs into a mystical game instead of her prominent food source.
The real excitement begins once the bottle no longer commands her attention. Today after drinking less than an eighth of her bottle, she tried to throw herself off of the couch a couple of times for good luck.
When she realized that escape wasn’t an option, she kept putting her toes near my mouth. I kept saying, “No thank you!” Yet she found this toe interaction completely hilarious and could not stop giggling with delight. After growing tired of having her toes nibbled on, Maddie let loose with a long string of splattering raspberries. This spittle and milk cocktail sprayed the both of us, again much to her delight.
Then she squirmed until her back was firmly on the couch and her legs were left on my lap. This triggered Maddie’s full scale Pilates workout. Her churning legs did their best to seek out and pummel my groin area. You could tell the baby felt better with each direct hit. I thwarted her blows with my extended arm until she decided to change tactics.
This is when she grasped my forearm and thrust it into her mouth. If you can’t enjoy milk, at least enjoy the flesh of a fellow human being. During her feeding frenzy on my arm, she lost her balance and face-planted on the couch.
As usual, honey badger didn’t care. No pain, no gain. I helped her up and she resumed her vicious attack. We had a great time – but she is no closer to taking the bottle by the horns and doing the work herself.
Even after two major trips in a row, Maddie’s schedule at home was really coming together nicely. Full nights of sleep and a fairly regimented eating schedule had the entire household living the dream.
But things swerved a bit off kilter yesterday and today all that consistency went up in smoke. Maddie spent the day boycotting any feeding or nap attempts. This caused me great concern because my parents were coming in to babysit Maddie.
Once they arrived, I was nervous about leaving them alone with the Mad Madster who was smack dab in the middle of her simultaneous hunger and sleep strike. However, the baby was full of smiles and squeaks and showing no signs of criminal mischief. After some urging from the grandparents, I decided to let Maddie be free of me for a couple of hours.
I gave my mom the scoop on Maddie’s odd behavior and finally left with a heavy cloud of guilt over my head. At this point, I still did not know the origin of the baby’s stranger-than-normal behavior.
Finally I broke down and called my parents for the scoop. They said that Maddie had taken a decent nap and was playing on the floor with my mom. Maddie’s grandfather told me to take my time, but I know that the baby’s mood can turn on a dime. I hurried home and when I walked in, I asked my dad how things were going.
When Maddie heard my voice, she let out a powerful screech. According to my parents, she had slowly started to come undone about 15 minutes before I got home. The baby didn’t need anything in particular, she just wondered why I wasn’t waiting on her hand and foot.
My wife had arrived home about the same time I did and informed me that Maddie has a pair of top teeth that have begun to break through the gums. That’s why the happy baby has been suddenly out of sorts. Maddie is fighting the good fight against this most recent invasion of the teeth, but we will have to see how tonight goes for all us.
Where there is smoke, there is fire. Sitting a pair of 8-month-old girls within about ten feet of each other is a prime example of flirting with disaster. Two little girls who had never met before, decided it was best to announce their presence with authority. Not just to one another, but also to the entire dining room.
It all started when the little girl next to our table started eyeballing Maddie. We will never know if this was a challenge or simple curiosity. But Maddie knew just what to do – she spontaneously started crying as if she had been pinched in the arm. This could have been a simple case of hunger, but the timing was almost too perfect.
After listening to Maddie cry for a short period of time, the other little girl thought it was important that she chime in on this one. Once I distracted Maddie with a carrot, they both stopped crying at the same time. Hmmm, what were these little demons up to?
I started chatting with the mother at the other table and found out that her little one was almost the exact same age as Madeleine. I also noted that her baby was eating some type of crunchy cereal. When I asked her about it, she offered me some to share with Maddie. This was a good thing as Maddie was pretty much fed up with all the lettuce and carrots I had been pushing on her.
However, as the mother offered me these tiny nuggets, her own daughter went nuts. She wanted to know how her mom could be giving away her precious food to some strange baby she had never met. This produced a chain reaction as Maddie joined in on this chorus of tears. Now the entire restaurant was being treated to the dulcet tones of the unhappy duo.
I was trying to get Maddie to try some cereal, but she was determined to match her new friend in pitch, tone and volume. They actually sounded quite good together. (Not really) However, once I got some cereal into Maddie’s trap, she lost all interest in the crying game. Again, as soon as Maddie stopped crying, her friend instantly relaxed as well.
This is when I realized that these devious divas were having a great time at their parent’s expense. What’s not to love here? Two sets of parents scrambling around trying to convince their girls to simmer down.
This was a case of two babies matching their actions and responses based solely on what the other one was doing. Were they communicating? Were they showing off? Again we will never know, but it’s good to see Maddie embracing teamwork at such a young and tender age.
Now that she is 7-months-old, Maddie is completely revamping the way she eats solid food. As a matter of fact, solid food intake is becoming quite the extreme sport in our household along the lines of skydiving and repelling.
Our first extreme meal started during the late morning. It turns out that a little bit of cinnamon oats and apple can go a long way in the arena of face painting.
It’s funny how this activity starts off in such a civilized manner. I gently urge Maddie to “help me” with the spoon and she gently guides it right into her mouth. However, after about our fifth spoonful of “civility” things start to break down. The first sign is when the baby decides that the contents in her mouth need a closer inspection.
She reaches in and comes out with fingerfuls of the goop we worked so hard to get in there in the first place. She examines these contents with a laser-like focus, evaluating what went in and how it has changed in appearance.
After her curiosity is satisfied, she decides that the mess on her fingers should be liberally applied to her left ear. WHAT A GREAT IDEA!! And once the left ear amassed a generous portion of oats and apples all over it – she just had to keep going.
So after every few spoonfuls, she shared the rations with her hungry left ear. Not the right ear, which is far too civilized for such antics, just the left one. Needless to say, our cleanup took a bit longer than usual.
The nighttime meal of homemade sweet potato produced a whole new set of challenges in the form of FLYING FOOD! Who knew that sweet potato was so aerodynamically designed for flight?
When my wife came home this evening, she noticed that my eyebrows and eyelids were caked with a spackling of sweet potato. She must have thought that I was trying to keep up with Maddie. This is because the baby determined that not only can sweet potato fly, but it also works as some type of mudpack to be applied liberally around the mouth and eyes.
As you can see from the picture above, a good time was had by all and Maddie was taking no prisoners.
Time to say goodbye to an old friend. The Bumbo Chair has been a trusted parental companion for several months now. It’s allowed my 7-month-old daughter Maddie to hang out with me in the kitchen for countless meals, cleanups and bottle cleanings.
This era came crashing down this afternoon when my little Houdini cracked the Bumbo code. We knew this day was drawing closer. I believe it was a packet of tic-tacs that finally sent Maddie over the edge (figuratively and literally). Even though the candy was out of reach, she threw her entire body in the direction of these refreshing little mints.
She whipped out one leg, leaned over and then whipped out the other. Hold on there tiger, where do you think you’re going? But there’s no stopping this one once she gets her attention fixed on something. Maddie is on a mission and your only options are to help or watch.
So of course we make sure she has a soft landing on the kitchen counter, but then what? She is awash in her amazing triumph over the constricting chair, but that’s where her plans kind of fizzle out.
That’s because our kitchen commando still has no idea how to crawl. So when she pulls one of these great escapes, she’s stuck on the counter like a bump on a log. It’s very cute to watch her ponder the next move, but for now, her options are rather limited.
Now we face the challenge of integrating Maddie into a whole new set of habits with a high chair. It will be interesting to see how she reacts to being banished from the kitchen counter. However, I’m sure that in a day or two, she will already be plotting her escape from the high chair. (Won’t that be fun?)