real food

Dueling Babies Clear Out Restaurant

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If you only knew the power of the Dark Side!

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.

Baby Showcases Eating Prowess at Sunday Brunch

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Keep setting them up, I'll keep knocking 'em down!

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.

A girl has to eat, am I right?

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?

Baby Adopts Extreme Eating Challenge

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Let the games begin!

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.

Teething Trouble Taking its Toll on the Baby

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Are we in the right place?

I’ve always heard that the teething process is no picnic. Maddie is driving that point home while her bottom gum line is under assault by an erupting tooth.

Her eating and sleeping schedules are in complete chaos as she searches for some balance during this process. Maddie is such a good girl, and it makes it all the more difficult that she really is trying to be sweet despite her obvious discomfort.

At this point we are all about the distractions. We are trying everything from juggling clowns to large jungle cats to keep Maddie’s mind off of her aching mouth. We took a long walk this morning, but by the end, the offending tooth was sticking it to my little girl.

We’ve also been trying a variety of tricky items for Maddie to chew on. Since Maddie likes chewing on her own toes so much, we thought a little fake plastic foot that goes into the refrigerator might be pleasing to suck on for a while – No Dice!

Someone suggested that we freeze or cool off a washcloth and let the baby gnaw on that. Maddie is still pondering what road scholar came up with that one. She took one look at thing all the while giving off that famous McEnroe vibe, “You can not be serious!”

The baby did enjoy chewing on a bagel and gumming up a few slices of pear this morning, but that was the extent of our success.

My wife and I had a pharmacist tell us that soothing medicines for the gums can cause problems for children later in life. This might be due to the fact that many people grapple with the concept of moderation. I’m pretty sure a little Baby Orajel here and there isn’t going turn the baby into a werewolf or a zombie.

So for now, the baby is fighting the good fight – thank god we only have about 6 to 9 months of this to go!

Baby Stars at Holiday Family Supper

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I make these stars look good!

Now that Maddie is tearing up the solid food, the dynamics of eating around her have changed completely.

The baby perks up anytime someone nearby puts something into his or her mouth, especially when it’s her mom or dad. Even when you take a drink, Maddie has no problem when it comes to reaching out for a little taste.

Today was no exception when we visited my Aunt in Central Virginia. Maddie was in remarkably good spirits after taking another road trip. We got Maddie into the house and placed her onto a blanket on the floor. My Aunt’s tiny Yorkie named Bonnie Blue couldn’t wait to come out and meet the baby.

The little pooch kept circling Maddie and trying to approach her to spread a little bit of love. The baby wasn’t sure what was going on, but the pup was dying to play with her. No physical interaction actually took place, but it was beyond cute to watch them size each other up.

With all of the relatives in the house, there was no way Maddie was going take a nap and miss out on any of the action. She put on a halftime jumping display that would have shamed Madonna at this year’s Super Bowl.

Once it was time for supper, Maddie was chomping at the bit to get in on the action. My aunt broke out an amazing array of turkey, ham, potatoes with all the works and Maddie was going wild.

I prepared an enormous plate for myself and started breaking off pieces from a roll for the Madster. She was gumming them up and setting them down while we everyone was eating around her. The baby was in all her glory because she was eating with the group, just like the big girl she is.

Each time she got the bread nice and soggy, we would replace it with a new piece to keep her interested without fear of any choking. This went on for a while until we decided to switch gears and actually let her try some turkey. Even when we finished up, the baby wanted to keep the party going.

Maddie communicated to us that is was rude to eat and run, but we had to get her back home for some quality naptime. As always, she was a perfect lady and left everyone with a smile on their face.

Self-Cleaning Baby Craze Sweeps the Nation

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I'm coming for you Mr. Clean!

“Oh no, not again!”

Cue overdramatic parent shaking her head.

Narrator: “Tired of that crazy mess every time you feed your baby solid foods?”

Overdramatic parent: “I sure am!”

Cue the shot of baby food spattered all over the wall and counter.

Narrator: “That mess sure won’t clean itself up!”

Overdramatic parent: “If only there was a way to get it cleaned up fast!”

Narrator: “Well now there is, the Maddie Method is sweeping the nation so you will never have to clean up after feeding time again!

Overdramatic parent: “REALLY, PLEASE TELL ME MORE!”

Forget the Slap Chops – Never mind the ShamWow – Don’t even get me started on the Snuggies! For the first time, not yet available in stores – we have the first self-cleaning baby known simply as Maddie.

Don’t fall for cheap imitations, my daughter Maddie is the original self-cleaning baby. Never be stuck with a mess after feeding time for the baby again.

First, risk life and limb by trying to pry the spoon out of her hand. Then just gently place a folded half of a paper towel into her mouth and she goes to work with a fervor that is actually a bit frightening.

Whatever the baby has been eating, she is more than happy to use as many paper towels as you give her to take care of the mess she made. She scrubs her mouth, her eyes and even those hard to reach places.

Blast away broccoli – Punch out peas – Swat away sweet potatoes.

So how much would pay for a service like this? Don’t answer yet because if you order now, you will also get a slightly used bumbo baby chair with very low mileage and only a few chunks of hardened solid food attached to the surface.

Remember, you get the whacky baby and the tainted chair – so act now before your chance is gone.

Disclaimer, we bear no responsibility for those rare occasions when Maddie decides to massage her toes or hair with the meal of the day.

Baby Endures Disastrous Valentine’s Day

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If you can’t help your wonderful baby girl enjoy her first Valentine’s Day, at least make it memorable.

We have one hard and fast, yet simple rule when it comes to our 6-month-old daughter Maddie – Her waking hours are not to surpass the three-hour mark. You can flirt with the mark, but violate it at your own peril.

I’m not sure how often I need a refresher course on this one, but Maddie laid down the law on me once again tonight.

Our day got off to a rough start because it appears that peaches DO NOT agree with the baby’s digestive track. Her first taste of peaces came around 8 this morning. It will likely be the last taste for months, if not years to come.

Her tummy was all out of whack and under siege from gas attacks all morning. This made any decent naptime very hard to come by. By 2pm, she had only three half hour naps under her belt and if it those numbers stood up, it would be our shortest nap period on record.

After a couple unsuccessful attempts at putting her down for a nap, I noticed that her tummy must be much feeling better. That energy and smile came back and I was overwhelmed by illusions of grandeur. Fantasies of a harmonious and quiet Valentine’s Day bedtime process brought a warm glow to my heart.

As we approached 5pm, I decided to check the diaper and commence bedtime procedures. When I got to the diaper, without going into any gory details, I saw that the evil peaches had been expunged. I got busy changing the diaper when a dark cloud enshrouded the room.

Maddie’s mood was deteriorating and it was time for me to step up the pace. By the time I was done with the diaper, the baby was melting down and I was not prepared.

BUT? How could? What had happened was?

Now I was far out at sea with the shore miles away – I thrashed about and tried to soothe the baby, but it was too late. She had been up too long and I had no answers as to how to help her.

I tried to regroup and let her stew in the crib for a few minutes. That foolish action was met with brutal resistance. Now I have a desperate baby in my arms and there’s nothing to do but cling to the buoy and wait for the storm to pass. The tantrum has settled down all around you and it could have been avoided.

It’s always interesting to be struck with the harsh reality that you have no idea what you are doing. Whatever instincts or intelligence you gather along the way is completely washed away during moments like these. I wish Maddie had spent more time with the selection committee so she could have found a father who had at least half of a clue.

Baby Takes a Pass on Putrid Peas

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These peas shall not pass!

My name is Maddie and I have been pretty accommodating thus far. At 6-months old, I’m not terribly hard to get along with. Sure, I fire up a little temper tantrum now and again. Sometimes I even wake my parents up two, maybe three times a night. But trust me when I tell you that it is for their own good.

In all modesty, I’m not too hard on the eyes either, at least that’s what I tend to overhear. So with all these things going for me, why are my strange little parents trying to feed me peas?

Have you ever seen this mess? It’s some kind of funky fluorescent green concoction that smells like death and tastes even worse. What do I look like, some kind of mini-vegetable landfill?

I’m a good kid and for my age, I exhibit a surprising amount of patience. I let them feed me a wide range whacky combos including bananas and brown rice and even carrots apples and parsnips. So it’s not like I’m picky or anything, but I draw the line at peas.

“C’mon Maddie,” they tell me, “It’s got pears to blunt the nasty taste!”

HAAAAA – Then dig in yourself Stay Home PaPa!!

The audacity of these silly parents is mind-boggling. Hey Maddie, found an old diaper for you to chew on, but I spiced it up with some lemon meringue pie filling. Sure that sounds great guys, I might have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night!

So here I sit in my little bumbo chair as these brain surgeons try to poison me with this toxic green sludge. At one point, I had to launch a strategic sneeze which spackled my Dad with the few peas that actually made into my mouth. Ask my dad how those peas tasted.

Anyway, if you know either one of them, please hit them with a call or a text and tell them that Maddie will NOT succumb to this foul stew. Not today and not ever – PEACE not peas!

Baby Doubles Down on Solid Food

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This is my spoon and I'm not afraid to use it!

As Maddie has become more and more accustomed to solid food, it was finally time for us to up the ante. Earlier this week we added a little solid food brunch to the baby’s repertoire. At the time, we didn’t really anticipate some of the double duties that sneak up on you once your baby starts doubling down with the solids.

If you have a problem with the word “double” or if you hated the Doublemint Gum song, this article is NOT for you!

The first double duty we ran into was trying to preserve Maddie’s wardrobe. The baby loves her food so much that she almost always chooses to share it with whatever she happens to be wearing. Even with the bib on, Maddie likes spreading her food around the neck of her shirt. She has also become quite proficient at sharing healthy doses of solid mush with both of her sleeves.

Maddie is also well aware of the skin benefits associated with rubbing various solids all over her legs and when possible, her feet as well. We have quickly learned that these clothes must be soaked in water almost immediately. That is unless we prefer some of the more exotic stains that come with sweet potatoes, carrots and even those nasty peas.

Also, double the solid food leads to more diapers packed with secret and unspeakable treasures. Wait, that’s not entirely true – the treasure is actually tainted. For the past couple of months, we have only encountered one really messy diaper per day. Now, one must be ready at any given moment with the frightening potential of back-to-back dirty diaper episodes.

Last but certainly not least is the double bath time duties. As the diapers grow more and more unruly, so does the need for extra trips to the bathtub. These new duties are not a hardship at all – but they can be rather time consuming. It’s also interesting that we are now learning a great deal more about the cause and effect relationship as it relates to the actions you undertake with your child.

Sweet Potato – Food or Fashion Statement?

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Wear it like you ate it!

Tonight it was out with the bananas and in with the sweet potato and there was no way to know how the honey badger might react. I popped Maddie into her Bumbo chair, nuked the prebaked potato and presented my offering to the princess.

Having been fed for several nights now, Maddie was going crazy with impatience waiting for her first spoonful. However, unlike the banana that sometimes elicits a funny face from the baby, this sweet potato must have been a dream come true.

She couldn’t get enough of that orange mush, and whatever didn’t get eaten got treated like face paint. It was a grand old time with fifty percent going in Maddie’s mouth and the other half going into her hands and then onto her face.

I was trying to pace the baby, but she was absolutely ravenous for this newly discovered vegetable. I had a small stack of paper towel halves, but it was hard to keep with my little artist as her bib and the kitchen counter became her canvas. She was only painting with one color, but that didn’t stop Maddie from creating her first masterpiece.

What I hadn’t thought through was how much I should actually let my little Rembrandt consume. With every mouthful, she looked at me expectantly waiting for me to repeat the process. I finally realized that the only way to suspend tonight’s feeding was to hide the evidence. So I pulled a little razzle dazzle on the baby. I scooped out a new spoonful and chucked the cup into the sink hoping for an out of sight, out of mind scenario.

It worked this time, but as quickly as Maddie is picking up on things, a more sophisticated strategy is definitely going to be needed to slow down this freight train.