February 24, 2011

Baby Food Fail

Lately I've been feeling guilty about what Tessa is eating. Breakfast is normally pretty healthy -- yogurt, applesauce, oatmeal, that sort of thing -- but lunch and dinner can tend to involve American cheese, cold cuts, pieces of bread, and raisins. Once a day I try to shovel in a jar of pureed vegetables but I have to wait until she's really hungry before she'll dig on it.

She still only has those two bottom teeth, but she seems to slowly be getting better about eating things that she actually has to chew. So I decided to revisit making my own baby food. I started off doing this in the very beginning but eventually stopped because I got pissed off that she spat so much of this time-consuming homemade stuff right in my face. Yesterday I opened up this beautiful cookbook that we bought with the best of intentions when I was pregnant.

Source: Williams-Sonoma
I picked out a pretty little recipe. Looked like something she would eat. Looked like something I would eat. And fit the bill between pureed-to-all-hell and just-a-little-chewy.

Turns out, this book is just a pretty little lie.

I went shopping yesterday. Bought the quinoa, the beets, the butternut squash. Put Tessa down for her nap this morning and peeled the squash and the beets. The whole time I was thinking, I Am Such A Good Mother. Damn, I am really something. I put the healthy vegetables into the oven and baked them, with love and best wishes, for an hour. Then I rinsed and cooked the quinoa. Fluffed it and dolled it up with a little olive oil, a little butter, a little salt. I went ahead and pureed the butternut squash. Scraped that out of the food processor and then pureed the beets, dyeing my hands blood red in the process. I waited for it all to cool down, and then I put Tessa optimistically into her highchair. Put on her bib. And spooned that first glorious bite into her mouth.

I might as well have fed her a dog turd. She was disgusted. I spent five frustrating minutes trying to convince her that she was wrong, that this really was a great meal, while she rubbed beets all into her hair, her shirt, her highchair, and her bib and spit out kernels of quinoa all over me. I got pretty ticked off and walked away to do a little deep breathing in the kitchen.

But in the kitchen all I saw was a sink full of dirty dishes and a bunch of worthless baby food that she won't eat.

In the end I gave her a piece of her precious American cheese. And a piece of ham. And a piece of bread torn up into bits. And she made nom-nom-nom sounds and crossed her little feet at the ankles and was so very happy.

Her shirt and bib are permanently stained with beets and she had to have a bath right after lunch.

I know this is just the beginning. Nekos and I both really like fruits and vegetables though so I guess I will just keep trying with her. There are lots of frustrating things about motherhood, but I find cooking a meal for someone who spits it back in your face to be one of the most frustrating.

Any thoughts about how to get this stubborn little girl to eat vegetables?