Just when I think you’ve cracked this baby malarkey, High fiving the art of Burping, check. Nappy changing in awkward spaces, including the back of the car, check, check. Mastering the car seat, shopping with baby in tow and bathing baby in more than an inch of water. Check check check. Along comes another hurdle to stop you in you in your tracks and wipe that smug look clean off your face. For me, this mountain / molehill was weaning. We were getting along swimmingly Tilly and I, going about our day, 8hrs sleep, a bottle here, a bottle there, a trip to nanas, a stroll in the pram, bliss. Then came the 4am wake up calls, waaaaaa waaaaa waaaaaa, (roughly translated as “fix me a bottle pronto bed head before I wake up the neighbourhood”) To say this was a shock after a few weeks of naively believing my little one “slept through” was an understatement to say the least, in recent weeks I had been woken only by my own freakish need to check she is still breathing, approximately 2 / 3 times a night. No one warned me that hunger could interrupt her sleeping patterns so feverishly. But it didn’t stop at 4am, nope, she began to randomly yelp out at 1am and 2am too, no feed needed this time, just a matter of re-inserting the dummy, for anyone who has padded around the area surrounding baba`s cot in the thick of night furiously looking for one of the fallen dummies will know it’s no laughing matter, nor is sucking on the dummy before giving it back only to be greeted with a mouth full of fluff and whatever else, cleaning dummies in hot water is a much safer and humane option all round.
Following my weaning course, and being the swot I am, listening to the health authorities guide lines, I was waiting patiently for exactly 6 months to pass before I started whipping up purees and getting on the weaning bus, but waking several times in the wee hours eventually ground me down, and after self diagnosing tilly with chronic hunger, I reached for the baby rice at 5 months and 1 week. So sue me.
To my delight, she lapped it up, I chose a baby rice alternative, I am riddled with allergies so to be on the safe side, I chose a wheat free option, and it went down a storm, so much so that I made the silly mistake of allowing her 2 spoon full’s on her first attempt, which led to a full hour (it felt like an day) of intense crying, I had stuffed the poor baby to bursting point, I called my mum in a blind panic, and wailed pathetically down the phone that I thought I had poisoned her, swiftly and calmly mother arrived, gave baba some warm water and a rub and hey presto, the crying stopped, and Tilly was fine too.
Next stop, after 2 weeks of porridge, Puree. I am not a huge vegetable fan, I like what I call the “exotic” veg family (peppers/mange tout/butternut squash) but your bog standard “roast dinner veg” (carrots/parsnip/broccoli), you can keep. But having pledged that my daughter would know nothing of my dislikes (boyfriend calls it fussiness) I set about making her mini meals, steaming/pureeing and freezing into ice cube looking trays various root vegetables and some pear.
Day 1 of “vegetable gate” and my hard work was rewarded, I excitedly plonked baba in her Bumbo seat, attached bib and went straight in, armed with my bendy spoon and Little Miss Sunshine bowl, I did as the books said and remembered to encourage her, sounding slightly demented, I coooed and ahhhhed as she opened her mouth like a new born bird, waiting to be fed its worms. Only this new born bird wanted to hold the worm itself, and then dip its fingers in the bowl, get a nice handful of sweet potato and then immediately grab mummy’s hair, this wasn’t going to be a civilised affair.
Weaning Lesson 1. Keep bowl far away from little fingers, and while you are there move everything else away from her grasp, do not be deceived by these miniature people, their strength is surprising, and I swear tilly can extend her arms like inspector gadget, I have looked away for a second and turned back to an (unlit!!!) candle being lifted towards her mouth and a pot plant being pulled towards her by its defenceless leaves, nothing is safe.
Lesson 2. Go in armed. I have both wet and dry wipes on hand. Wet to wipe the slop from her cheeks, hands, ears and wherever else. Dry, to protect myself from the spray. Like most of us Tilly is prone to the odd sneeze, but she is yet to learn the art of the stifle, if her dad has his way this will never be the case, he likes to sneeze loud and long and clear aaaaaaaattttchhhhooooooo, Tilly seems to take after him, which is fine, except when she is mid mouthful of butternut squash and the aaaaaaatttchhoooooo is fired in my direction, when I am sitting only inches away from her face, I’ve been caught out once, my face peppered with orange 3D dots of food and saliva, if she wasn’t my baby it would be gross. Oh how we laughed, but there won’t be a next time, I have my tissue umbrella at the ready.