24 November 2008

Doing it Right, This Parenting Thing.

So, I have started BabyA on solid foods, if you can call runny brown rice cereal and apple sauce solid. This despite very firm warnings from our local public health unit that BABIES SHOULD NOT BE STARTED ON SOLID FOOD UNTIL THEY ARE SIX MONTHS OLD. Which I am ignoring.

I actually started letting her taste some of my foods a couple weeks ago, because she seemed so curious about what GeekDad and I were eating. She'd watch us intently, reach out for our food and/or utensils and/or mouths, etc., etc. So I started with the rice cereal, and Baby A loves it. She not only opens her mouth for the spoon, but she almost lunges for it in her enthusiasm. And while I'm sure at least a third of the food ends up on her hands (which she insists on shoving in her mouth simultaneously to the spoon) and face and bib and clothes and chair, she is definitely getting a good portion of the stuff into her belly.

So while these seemed to indicate that I had made the right decision about taking this next step in the child rearing process, part of me was still uneasy. Because I was BREAKING THE RULES. Feeding my child, only five months old, solid foods. This is because while I understand on a intellectual level that every child follows their own development schedule, on a gut level, I am a rule-follower. When I first had BabyA, my post-partum craziness manifested in a low-grade obsession with whether I was doing things right. I kept lists indicating the times I fed her, for how long, how many poops she was having and whether they were small, medium or large, etc. I'm not kidding. I can show you the lists, as they are in a small notebook, which, thankfully, has been put to other, less-OCD tasks now that my PPD crazies have subsided. I am the type of person who reads the instructions BEFORE assembling Ikea furniture, before programming the new electronic device, and before using the new tools. But I realized somewhere around the time BabyA was two months old that what the baby advice books, columns, websites, etc., gave were ONLY suggestions and timelines, and that as much as it went against my nature, this parenting thing was going to require winging it, at least to a certain degree.

So I started feeding BabyA,and then I read through the brochure given to me by the public health nurse about starting babies on solid foods. Backwards, I know, but like I said, I'm working hard at winging it. And the brochure says that I'll know BabyA is ready to start eating solids when she can sit up without too much assistance, shows interest in me eating, anticipates her food, and can swallow the food and not spit it all up. Check, check, check, check. This is all in the same brochure that says no way, no how should babies be eating solid foods before six months. So much for consistency. So it turns out, I'm actually doing ok with the winging it thing. Wow.

Now if only I could be as sanguine about the utterly nasty less-than-fabulous solid-food-poop.

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