It was with great pleasure today to finally introduce Maddie to one of life’s great pleasures – The amazing world of mashed potatoes.
If there is a better food out there, I am unfamiliar with it. So after a day fraught with bagel pieces, water melon and strained prunes, Maddie deserved a real treat.
We all sat down for a nice dinner. The baby started off with strawberries, as mom and dad were ready for meat and mashed potatoes. I was about to sit down when Maddie’s mom suggested that maybe it was time to share some mashed magic with the baby.
What an idea – but I wondered, would Maddie embrace “squished taters” like her dad? This has been my favorite food since I can remember and it’s always been a private joke in my family.
So how would the baby react to her first taste of mashed gold? I reverently placed a small portion on Maddie’s tray. She eyed it suspiciously at first, but then reached out and grabbed a handful. She worked the strange mixture between her fingers getting a good feel for it. Just as we were wondering if she would ever bother to taste it, she jammed some into her mouth.
Then two things happened, she smiled at the taste but was confused by the consistency. Maddie continued to work that mouthful of potatoes, trying to decide if the taste was worth the work. Two helpings later, Maddie was ready to join a long list of nationwide mashed potato lovers! Welcome to the club Maddie!
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.
Maddie’s parents thought they had the perfect strategy going into church this morning. Feed the baby a bottle during mass and she would be the model of decorum. We found some space near the front and immediately broke out the bottle.
Maddie obviously thought this was a great idea. She knocked back the bottle with real gusto. Sure she swiveled her head some and broke contact a few times, but all in all she enjoyed a really nice relaxing bottle. (Or so we thought)
One the bottle was finished, Maddie needed a good look around to take in her surroundings. This quickly devolved into a Daddy versus honey badger wrestling contest. The crazy critter was arching her back, trying to dive onto the floor and delivering round house kicks for all she was worth.
Keep in mind this is no big deal and actually par for the course. Maddie always has ants in her pants and this kickboxing workout in her father’s arms was nothing out of the ordinary. As long as she was keeping quiet, there was nothing to worry about.
As the service progressed however, Maddie decided that she had some complaints she wanted to share with the congregation. There were just murmurs at first, but then Maddie was really ready to express herself. She started off with a complex variety a subtle squeaks and chirps that many people in the immediate area found cute and charming.
But you could see people start to wince when the squeaks morphed into sharply placed scream-bursts. Then the baby snared me into her most famous game also known as the bait-and-switch. The game works like this. Every time we get up to leave, she falls instantly silent. She flashes those gorgeous eyes at me and I’m hypnotized. I’m convinced that she is now ready to behave herself and the shenanigans have come to an end. (S-U-C-K-E-R)
After losing a few rounds of bait-and-switch, it was time to call in the big guns and hand her off to Mom. This kept Maddie quiet for all of 30 seconds until she was off to the races yet again. Mom and Maddie made their way to the back of the church. I caught up a moment later to see both Maddie and her mom covered with spit up. Easter services are only a week away and Maddie will have to work hard to top today’s performance.
My amazing 7-month-old daughter turned lunchtime at Panera into the Maddie Show this afternoon. She wrapped her grandparents around her little finger and left them there for the rest of the afternoon. The baby was completely in her element. Her two main ingredients were in abundance – food and attention.
The three of them couldn’t get enough of each other. They joked, snuggled and told secrets that grandparents only share with their grandchildren. Maddie got passed back and forth from grandparent to grandparent and giggled with delight during each hand off.
I kept a piece of bread in Maddie’s hand during lunch because she’s made it very clear that everyone should eat together during mealtime. She also enjoys sharing soggy dough with the clothes being worn by whoever has the pleasure of holding her at the time.
Maddie took great pleasure in showing grandpa her core strength by arching her back and actually hanging her head upside down. All of this while keeping death grip on her precious piece of soggy bread.
She also had her grandmother shucking and dodging those killer Maddie headbutts. The baby throws them without warning and has actually tagged her grandmother before. To this day, that lucky shot keeps grandma on high alert every time she has the baby on her lap.
The baby’s mood continued to improve as she began to capture attention from other tables in the restaurant. She accomplished this by speaking very loudly in a language known only to her. Her grandparents were amazed at the skill and volume of this loud and nonsensical pubic offering.
Once Maddie was all chatted out, it was time to head home. Lunch was over and Maddie had already soaked every piece of bread the restaurant had to offer in her famous baby saliva. She gave her grandparents a final wave and settled into the car seat for a well-deserved nap.
Maddie put on an eating display for the ages at brunch this afternoon. My little girl was definitely in her element because she had plenty of food options coupled with a large audience. Once we propped her up in the high chair she gave us that smile that said, “Let the games begin!”
Cantaloupe, asparagus and melon, oh my!
First we started Maddie off with the honey melon. She dug in those talons, jammed the fruit in her mouth and went to work. We always make sure the pieces are too big so she can’t choke. It’s a great spectator sport because whatever the food happens to be, she goes at it full force.
Despite her ferocious eating habits, people kept stopping by the table to greet Maddie and tell her how cute she was. Complete strangers would give her a big smile, make various forms of goo-goo eyes at her and engage her in some baby small talk. Let’s just say that Maddie ate up all the attention just like she was killing that melon.
To keep the good times rolling, we had to keep a large supply of fruit close by. When it comes to Maddie, the food casualties mount up quickly. Some pieces are fumbled onto the table or floor while others are used as a tool to scrub nearby furniture. These tainted pieces are quickly removed and recycled before Maddie has the chance to really experience the wonderful world of foodborne illnesses.
After Maddie made her way through a small plate of melon, we switched to the cantaloupe. This orange mushy fruit was a big hit with our little girl. She used her gnashing gums and two bottom teeth to inflict as much damage as possible. After a few more pieces of fruit, Dad broke out his secret stash of asparagus sticks.
We broke one in half and of course Maddie tried to impale herself with it. But after a littler experimentation, she was tearing that thing up too. The visitors kept on coming and the baby wowed each and every one them. The only question left was what will Maddie do for an encore?