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Saturday, April 23, 2005  

Kung Food Fighting

Trash and I have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to feeding M. Tiny. Trash is much better at feeding him with the bottle. On the other hand, when it comes to spoon-feeding, she's better at that too. But I'm better at burping. Unless you're talking about burping the baby, in which case she's better at that as well.

But whereas M. Tiny is more adept at resisting me when I'm trying to give him his bottle (and, for some reason, more motivated), he's less resistant when it's time to spoon-feed whatever the puree of the moment might happen to be. It could be because he likes puree more than formula. It could be that he's already becoming picky about his routine. Or it could be that when I'm spoon-feeding him, he's strapped into his car seat and can't move. So I'm generally more likely to take care of the spoon-feeding end.

I've always understood that spoon-feeding a baby is a tricky and messy business, despite my almost complete lack of experience with same. It's not exactly counter-intuitive to conclude that gooey food + no table manners + no table = mess. But I figured that not letting him operate the actual spoon just yet might give me some measure of control over the devastation. I was wrong.

As I've said, he goes in his car seat when being spoon-fed. He's strapped in. There's a towel behind his head to protect his car seat, a bib around his neck to protect the top half of his clothes, and another towel over his lap to protect the bottom half of his clothes. If we could put something over his head and still successfully feed him, we'd do that too. As it is, by the time he's done he looks like he's been to a Gallagher concert.

Of course, he doesn't get to hold the spoon yet, so he's not able to throw the food all that far. When we first started, we let him hold a "dummy" spoon while we fed him. We figured that keeping his hands occupied would minimize his flailing, and thus the mess. Again, we were wrong.

He's not into projectile spitting, at least not yet. You'd think that would help keep things relatively neat. But you'd be wrong.

Theoretically, we should outmatch him in terms of size, strength, coordination, and mobility. But our mobility is limited, since we've only got the one hand--the one holding the spoon--to work with. The other hand has to hold the bowl of food, because if we put it down Phantom or Turtle will come and eat out of it (someone should have warned us about barn cats). And the bowl has to be held firmly, because more than once a tight grip has been the only thing preventing a sharp infant kick from spattering squash on the ceiling.

And he has a strategic advantage, in the sense that our goal is to not get food all over. His goal is to get food all over. The kid may be small, but he's got entropy on his side, and any parent knows that's a tough team to beat.

So without even realizing it, he can deploy an entire Mortal Kombat sized arsenal of jerks, smacks, spits, and combinations thereof. He'll jerk his head to one side at the last second, leaving a trail of fresh goo on his right cheek, while simultaneously drooling out a stream of slightly more watery goo that would be going down his right cheek if he hadn't also simultaneously grabbed his bib and pulled it up over his face, covering it with half-gummed food that's going still to be there the next time he lifts his bib over his face, but his face will be pointing in a different direction by then so he'll get a whole other area. He'll grab your feeding hand and try to pull it down, then release it, causing the spoon to catapult upward and slingshot food up his nose. He'll jam his hands into his face, spit some food out, and then grab everything he can reach, using his mouth, chin, nose, cheeks, neck, and forehead as the palette for the abstract canvas that is his personal space. And despite our superior size, strength, and coordination, we are helpless to stop him. His kung food is the best.

And airplane noises? Forget it. He has no idea what an airplane is. Or he does, but he thinks the approaching spoonful is a bomb, and it's up to him to provide the detonation.

I can't believe we ever thought giving him his own spoon to hold would be a good idea. All that did was increase his reach.

We're not looking forward to a future where he feeds himself with his own spoon. Maybe we'll just swaddle him in blankets so he can't move, put the spoon and the bowl on his chest, and decide he's done after fifteen minutes or so. "Oh, you don't feel like feeding yourself? We'll take care of that. Open up. Here you go. Stop spitting!"

Either that or we'll feed him outside, on the deck. He'll grow up with a love of dining al fresco. Year round.

Today's best search phrase: "What does 1.5 millimeters look like." I believe 1.5 millimeters is just about the size of my brain aneurysm.

posted by M. Giant 9:49 PM 11 comments

11 Comments:

My mom had to wear a plastic raincoat while she fed my sister. I, on the other hand, ate pretty much anything in front of me. Which helps explain why my sister is skinny and I am ... not.

By Anonymous Leslie, at April 24, 2005 at 9:21 PM  

"kung food". Heh.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 25, 2005 at 6:18 AM  

Hee. I love Kung Food Fighting. Now that song will be going through my head for the rest of forever.

By Anonymous Angie, at April 25, 2005 at 6:46 AM  

Invest in some cheap clear shower curtains and cover the table and the floor, then let 'er rip. And I bet M. Tiny is even more adorable with food all over his head. Sha little baby.

By Anonymous Elle, at April 25, 2005 at 8:50 AM  

Feed him outside, and then you can hose him off when he's done. Solved! ~Laura

By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 26, 2005 at 12:29 PM  

My brother and SIL strip my niece down to her diaper before putting on the bibs/towels/etc., as well as do the strapping-down-into-the-seat thing. Maybe you should consider that so you will at least have less clothes to wash (of his, anyway).

By Anonymous Colleen, at April 28, 2005 at 10:50 AM  

I got a cheap high chair, and some dollar vinyl tablecloths, and left the baby in his diaper...then after trying to fling as much food in his mouth as I could, I'd take him straight to the bathtub. Oh, and invest in the industrial size buckets of Clorox wipes. Lovely.

Oh, and take lots of pictures of baby's first adventure with pasta and sauce. Adorable. I swear my son managed to get a pound of pasta up his nose and in his ears. But it was still cute.

Also, heh to Kung Food.
~Ellie

By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 30, 2005 at 9:29 AM  

When my son was little (he's 13 now), we said that he was a "method" eater -- he BECAME his food, instead of just eating it. You name it, it was everywhere: nose, ears, hair... Even though 3 meals, plus snacks a day now equals a lot of clean-up, pretty soon this stage will be over, and he'll be on to the next type of mess. At that time, you'll long for the "good ol' days", trust me!

By Anonymous Kathy in San Jose, at May 8, 2005 at 11:12 PM  

Does anyone else wonder where the heck M. Giant is?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 9, 2005 at 8:29 PM  

Yes - and I really hope everything is OK!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 10, 2005 at 10:34 AM  

Me too! I'm going to go crazy if I see the title 'Kung Food Fighting' another day!

I hope all is well!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 11, 2005 at 10:54 AM  

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