Maddie’s short fuse grew a little shorter tonight when she demanded an immediate release from her high chair. Dinner hadn’t been over for more than a minute when a squeal erupted from my precocious soon to be one-year-old daughter.
Maddie’s parents were shocked to see that the baby was trying to tear off her shirt as a show of civil disobedience. Once she discovered she couldn’t free herself from the chair, she knew she had to do something radical. Moments later, the topless protest was on.
However, pulling her shirt all the way off was not as easy as Maddie had anticipated. She succeeded in getting the shirt over her head, but was not able to free her arms.
All three of us found this predicament especially entertaining. Maddie started laughing her head off. We couldn’t tell if the baby was stunned by her own ridiculousness or entertained by the fact that her parents were cracking up. We freed Maddie from the chair and fixed her shirt before she was off on her next adventure in the kitchen.
Along with Cabinet Opening 101, Maddie is taking graduate level courses in “Pulling over Trashcans” and “Opening the refrigerator and resting her arms on the bottom shelf. She’s already looking at next month’s syllabus that includes a course on Parental Coercion and Terror.
I tried to explain the catch and release policy to Maddie regarding the trapping of city pigeons, but my pleas fell on deaf ears. We were in the city park today when a bold pigeon ventured a little too close to Maddie and her treasured bagel. My 10-month-old bundle of joy shot out of the crib snatching the unsuspecting bird straight out of the air.
The poor flying rat never stood a chance. We wrapped him up and took it home for a little impromptu lunch. This is when I remembered that I had some fantastic duck waiting for us in the refrigerator. It was sure to be more tender than the pigeon and perhaps not quite as gamey.
What I didn’t anticipate is how much Maddie would enjoy this new type of meat. I gave her a drumstick to work over and she was hooked. As soon as she jammed the bone into her mouth, her mighty jaws snapped it cleanly in half. She was quite content to gnaw on Daffy’s remains until all the meat was gone from the shredded bird.
As Maddie’s appetite ramps up, so does her enthusiasm for eating. She hasn’t gained any weight in nearly a month, but she seems to be getting taller by the day. Her propensity for immersing herself into the middle of mischief is quickly becoming the stuff legends are made of.
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 we experiment with more and more foods for Maddie, the feeding process changes a little bit each time. We are now beginning each morning with a variety of three foods for the baby to work on.
This morning we introduced Maddie to the world a watermelon and what an introduction it was. The first bite was met with shock and surprise. But after a few seconds, Maddie realized she had a new favorite.
However, she had a very difficult time wrapping her mind around the fact that with each bite, she would get a new splash of flavored water. After making sure she got her fill of melon, bananas and strawberries it was finally time for the main course.
Maddie ripped into her oatmeal with a vengeance seemingly savoring each bite. We were about half way through the bowl when Maddie came up with what I can only describe as an oatmeal epiphany.
I didn’t notice at first, but Maddie had stored the last few bites of oatmeal in her mouth. This is when I decided that mealtime was over. I would let Maddie work on her large mouthful of magic and then clean her up for playtime.
That’s when Maddie pulled the trigger. She scooped a heaping portion of oatmeal out of her mouth and started massaging her scalp with it. There was really nothing to be done but watch and enjoy the show.
She made sure the clumps were mixed well inside of her hair before she put her hands at her side to gauge my reaction. I just smiled at her and began the arduous clean up process. Normally this would warrant a bath, but I just wiped her head down with a wet paper towel and let her ride out the day with the SLICK look. I can hardly wait to see what she does with the new salmon baby packets we bought.
Today was an unusual day as I got to enjoy the many faces of Maddie in a rapid-fire succession. She went from euphoric to angry to unmanageable and back again all in less than two hours. To be fair though, Maddie is almost 8-months-old and has more than enough on her plate right now.
She’s dealing with a daily assortment of new foods being introduced to her, there are some teething issues, her new found ability to standup and the frustrating talent of zipping backwards when she wants to move forward. Couple this shopping list with the fact that she’s a bit on the impatient side and we have a full menu of possibilities.
Maddie woke up on the right side of the crib this morning, even it did happen just before 5am. She went right to town on breakfast and was in the perfect mood. The baby was playful, full of wonder and ready for a little outdoor time. We got out early and took a brisk walk into this stunningly warm Jersey weather.
She delighted passersby across Jersey City with a smile that lit up the Hudson River along with the rising sun. Each feeding and nap was met with good-natured cheer and enthusiasm. That is until the 1:30 bottle-feeding.
This is when the wagon slid off the rails so to speak. Right at the beginning of the bottle, Maddie flipped the script. Suddenly she was troubled, angry and had no interest in being held at all. This is when I started trying out a variety of possible remedies to help stifle this 0-60 mood shift. Tummy time worked for a while and so did some quiet time in the crib. But these fixes were only temporary.
After about 30 minutes, I tried to feed her again with mixed results. At least she drank something on this go around. Then we struggled with the possibility of another nap, but Maddie finally relented.
When she woke up this time, it was if nothing negative had ever happened. She picked right back up with the good mood she had presented first thing in the morning. Based on her wakeup diaper change, I deduced that she had a bad tummy earlier and just wanted to be left alone to work through it.
When it comes to Maddie, these changes are lightning-quick so you have ready for carnage or love at a moments notice.
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?
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.
The baby has been a real trooper with all the new food we have sent her way this week. There are certainly some drawbacks to introducing the baby to the world of solid food. I will spare everyone the gory details, but solid food has definitely impacted the world of diaper changing. My wife has yet to encounter the power and the glory of the solid food diaper, but I feel confident that her time will come sooner than later.