Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Tale of Plums, Spoons and Oranges

My daughter loves plums.

And oranges.

And big, metal spoons.

I think she loves them for different reasons though when they are cold, they all serve the same purpose.

At first, when a piece of food would inadvertently land in her mouth as a result of her razor-sharp gums, she would blow and blow and drool and drool and drool until whatever it was flopped back out.

Now, she knows what to expect. In fact, she welcomes it. Especially the juicy bits.

I gave her a plum yesterday. Long gone are the days of tentative sucking. She grabbed that poor piece of fruit like it deserved what it had coming and stuck it in her mouth. Or rather, she stuck it on her mouth and her nose, and part of her cheek, her jaw working its way towards the edges like a bulldozer through wet sand.

By the time she was done with it, this plum was halfway to being a puree.

She loves plums. She told me so by clapping excitedly when I put it in front of her.
When she brings those little hands together, sometimes they are full of things -- a book in one hand, a teething ring in the other. Sometimes her sleeves cover her palms and fingers. Not that she cares, it's the movement of clapping that gives her pleasure; the gesture is unmistakable, her smile ecstatic with achievement.

Before the plum, there was the orange. Soft and juicy, it made an indelible mark on her and provided a real turning point. Unlike everything that came before it, I think parts of that orange actually reached her tummy, teaching her that what she was holding in her hand was more than just another thing to put in her mouth and then discard.

I realised the importance of feeding her healthy food. Not only for her but also for me: when she was done sucking it dry, I ate the rest of that orange. It was too delicious to bin. And better citrus than biscuits.

Lastly, Madame Spoon. We bought her cute little bamboo ones. Pretty, inoffensive, eco-and child friendly. But now that she's eating like we are, and with us, she wants what we have. The lot of the bamboo has been sealed: it goes on the floor immediately, without even a glance. The large, cold metal spoon, on the other hand, goes straight in the mouth -- with or without apple sauce, bean soup or dahl.

For my part, I've already started to mourn the lessening of her dependence of me. I won't lie: it's hard. I didn't expect it to last forever but maybe I hoped it would go on for longer than this. At night, when she turns over and reaches for me, it makes me smile with a little relief as I know we still have a little ways to go -- less than I thought, but still something. I inch towards her, happy to provide the comfort, the milk, the connection that will help my daughter sleep soundly and feel safe.

And in the morning, I happily make us all breakfast: one for Ima, one for Pappa, one for Vida. She claps with delight.