Honestly, I was in no hurry to get E.J. started on solid food. I just didn't feel a need to rush it, and adding an extra thing to our schedule each day was hardly a motivating factor. But, our pediatrician has expressed some concern over his weight gain, or more accurately, lack thereof. E.J.'s birth weight was in the 80th percentile, but since then, he has not gained as much as quickly as would be expected and he has now dropped to the 10th percentile. The doctor has brought it up at all of his well visits, but I haven't been too worried about it personally because he's just so happy and seems to be thriving developmentally. But, it has been out there every month, and at his six-month visit the pediatrician encouraged me to start feeding him solids before his seven-month weight check to see if that helped (for the record, we had that weight check today, and it did not help...but you will soon see the likely reason why).
So, once we were back from Disney, we started in on the food. Time to (attempt to) fatten that kid up.
E.J.'s first official food experience came on January 17th, with some mashed avocado. He was ready to go!
Look at this little sweetheart, looking so grown up in his high chair.
Then came the first bite.
First bite of a lifetime of food!
"Huh. That's new."
VIDEO: E.J.'s first bite of solid food
You could replace the baby with a spring breaker and the spoon with a shot of tequila and the faces would be identical. (I'm guessing...)
We continued on similarly through avocados for a couple of days, then tried some sweet potatoes. Unfortunately, that did not yield much better results.
"But wait!" you'll say. "Look at his face! He loves it!" you'll say.
And E.J. will say, "NOT SO FAST."
In fact, after a serving or so of sweet potatoes, he started refusing to open his mouth altogether. He did, however, approve of puree finger painting.
I kept hoping he'd suck his fingers or something and get some in there that way, but he's way too smart for my trickery.
With E.J. refusing to even open his mouth for a spoon, I decided to go back to basics. The pediatrician had recommended we start with vegetables instead of cereal, but I thought, hey, maybe it was just too much newness for him at once—the spoon, the texture, the taste. Let's try some basic cereal mixed with breastmilk, so the flavor will at least be somewhat familiar to him. So we tried it:
And despite that smiling face, the results remained the same. That mouth stayed steadfastly clamped shut, and if by chance I tricked him into opening wide enough (using his smiley nature against him, like a true monster), any food I stuffed in there would be instantly spit right out. Never mind that this kid puts EVERYTHING ELSE in his mouth (his discerning palate has already sampled Daddy's running shoes, computer cords, dog food, leaves, and just about every single toy in this house). But actual food? Completely inedible.
But I was not going to give up. I'm going to put some chubby little baby rolls on this kid yet, and the doctor is going to marvel at his (healthy) girth one of these days, I just know it. So I decided to problem solve. E.J. loves putting stuff in his mouth, as I mentioned above. Like, literally, EVERYTHING. So, maybe my error was trying to feed him purees and not letting him control the situation. This line of thinking brought about a new approach: give E.J. big, mashable, soft chunks of food and let him handle the feeding business himself.
We started this plan with sweet potatoes. He was...not impressed.
"Mom has really lost it now."
He stared at them for a bit, then picked them up, extended his arm out over the edge of the high chair, looked me dead in the eye and dropped them straight to the floor.
Oh. So it's going to be like that, then.
Again I was left inwardly screaming, "YOU PUT LITERALLY EVERYTHING ELSE THAT CROSSES YOUR PATH STRAIGHT INTO YOUR MOUTH. EAT THE DELICIOUS SWEET POTATO THAT I LOVINGLY BAKED JUST FOR YOU."
But I will persevere in the face of adversity.
So we tried avocado slices again. Hey, he actually opened his mouth for the mashed version, so maybe this would go better. And after a few attempts, IT DID. HE PUT IT IN HIS MOUTH. He didn't swallow it, but by golly, it got onto his tongue.
Next we tried steamed carrot sticks. HE PUT THOSE IN HIS MOUTH, TOO! It's possible that he even swallowed a tiny piece once or twice. (The rest were gratefully gobbled up by Achilles, who apparently is a big fan of floor-carrot.)
"A new toy to put in my mouth!"
"OMG WHAT IS HAPPENING."
"This has to go."
He knows my weakness for that face.
We also recently tried some Mum-Mum crackers. Ellie was a huge fan back in her day, so I figured, why not? And they were probably the most successful food that we have tried yet. I'm going to imagine that's because he's finally warming up to eating and not because they dissolve easily in his mouth (thus preventing all the spitting-back-out of food), but who knows.
I'm getting slightly concerned that this is just what his face looks like when he eats, and someday he'll be out on a dinner date, and the girl will be all, "What is wrong??? Is your dinner bad?" and he'll have to say, "No, this is just my eating face."
So the process is ongoing, to say the least. We'll just keep on trying. Tonight, for example, I plan to try both a puree option and a solid option (banana, because kids love bananas!). Obviously he's going to eat eventually, so I'm not too worried about it, but it's so different from Ellie, who sweetly opened up her little mouth at the first sign of a spoon and happily ate just about whatever we fed her (note: this is far from the case anymore, because toddlers). Hey, it's just another way these two are different!
But for now, we've got some fattening up to do. Let's get it done, bananas!