Tuesday, February 22, 2011

from scratch

There's this awesome song by Justin Roberts, a kiddie folk/rock artist, called From Scratch. I found it yesterday on my Pandora radio station, and was going to be all artsy and begin my blog with the lyrics. Alas, a straight-up post is what you're going to get. No lyrics to be found anywhere.

I always put Lydia in her little Bumbo seat and let her watch, smell and touch things (not hot things) as I'm cooking in the kitchen. The manufacturers of the Bumbo chair would probably have my hide for putting it on the kitchen counter while I'm working, but I figure there's no harm when I'm standing right there peeling, chopping and mixing. She loves looking at all the textures and colors of the food we cook, and she's always drooling when I hold things up for her to smell and taste. As I cook we listen to her station on Pandora, a combination of her kiddie folk like Raffi and Elizabeth Mitchell, and my folk goodness like Nickel Creek.

One of my mama friends in Alaska, Laura--the Queen of All--has a fantastic blog entitled Hey What's For Dinner Mom? The quote at the bottom of her home screen reads, "I refuse to microwave, I won't eat food that comes in squeeze pouches and I try to avoid 'real flavor added' products. My kids don't know what poptarts are and have never had gummy fruits. There has to be better food for adults and kids alike and I am on a quest to find it." She's not the only mom I've run into running on that novel quest, and I hope not the last, either. Her blog, which I read daily, even running through older posts, emphasizes the need to feed our children wholesome, delicious foods that WE make...the "we" meaning us, the family!

Charlie and I have always liked cooking, and cooking together. We'll joke around ("Get the hell out of my kitchen when I'm working!") but the truth is, I enjoy making food with the man I love. We'll linger over deciding what to make, check for ingredients, send one of us to the store while the other gets going on a salad or something, and together we'll concoct a delicious meal. I love watching his eyes roll back in his head over something I've made, and he equally delights in pleasing my palate.

And we can't WAIT to do that for Lydia. I cannot wait to cook for, and with, my daughter. I grew up welcome in the kitchen, and I am dedicated to making the kitchen a safe place for Lydia to come into as well. Many of the kids I taught in Alaska were expected to know their way around the kitchen, and a certain mischievous little girl I knew could wield a 8 inch chef knife as well as me.

So far, Lydia hasn't had a whole lot of food. Some peas, some prunes, applesauce and a few others, but they have not become a solid part of her main diet. We're keeping it breastmilk till she's about 6 months old, and then we'll start introducing solids as a component of her meals. I've been reading a ton about it...so far we've done nothing by the book, which is both liberating and a little scary. There is a vast array of sources who know EXACTLY what the best meal set-up for your baby is; I've read meal plans from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Raw Food Diet followers, PETA (seriously), the Mayo Clinic guide to keeping your child alive (I forget the title) and many others.

All of them sound wonderful; I'll probably do as I've always done when it comes to things that should be set in stone, and pick and choose the best parts of each to make us a wonderful feeding schedule, complete with homemade food for our little Lydia.

How did you start your kids on solids? What foods did you try first, and which ones did you avoid?

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