Monday, December 26, 2011

the best laid plans

I'm a planner. And by that I mean I really, really like to have a plan for everything. So it should come as no surprise that I had a well-thought-out, wonderfully elaborate plan for my sweet baby's first meal. I would wait for just the right time, when she could fit better in her little high chair, could pick things up with her thumb and forefinger, and maybe have a couple teeth in. Most of my books say these are the indicators of a baby's readiness for solid food (you may have gathered at this point that I'm also a reader). I would buy her a handcrafted wooden bowl and spoon for her first taste. I would source a local farm for a fresh organic sweet potato. I would purée that potato and mix it with my breastmilk. Then, when everything was prepared just so, I'd have her daddy help her take that first bite, my camera at the ready to capture this most precious first moment. That was The Plan. A good plan, yes?

Then today came. My family was here for our Christmas Eve dinner which ended up happening this day after Christmas because we were completely snowed in until now. (I guess the weather had different plans). I had the baby on my lap, enjoying our meal and family. So intently she watched me eating, grabbing at my plate and fork as she tends to do these days. I paused for a moment, watching her, really paying attention with my full self. And that's when it happened. I didn't even think much about it, really. I simply scooped up a bit of mashed potato from my plate onto my finger, and just as I was going to offer it to the baby, she leaned her head forward, mouth wide open, aiming straight for that little dollop. No spoon, no specially prepared food. Just my finger and some mashed potatoes. Definitely not in the plan. The weather changed, the circumstances changed. Change, change, change, all messing up my plans. My plans! This is the lesson my baby has been teaching me ever since her birth (which, just for the record, veered completely away from the plan) - the lesson of letting go, changing plans, and embracing the moments as they come. I'm learning, sweet one. Please keep teaching me.

15 comments:

  1. I'm a planner, too, and if kids teach us anything (repeatedly), it's that plans change. :) I'm so glad you got photos of her first (impromptu) food!

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  2. Thank you, Barbara. This is the one and only photo, which my husband happened to take with his phone! But that makes it a very cherished one, and I think the "picture" of this memory will stay with me for a very long time :)

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  3. Aw, that is so sweet plan or not! My granddaughter is just now starting to eat real food, and prefers it to "baby" food! It's amazing how much they teach us about life.

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  4. I don't think there could have been a more perfect first meal then to be sitting on your mama's lap at a table, surrounded by a family that loves you, eating from someone that is the dearest to you's own hand. And mashed potatoes are just the icing on the cake!

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  5. Great picture, glad your husband was able to capture the moment! I guess it's time to throw all the plans out the window! LOL!!

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  6. LOL Jaime! Loved your comment on my blog! I used to be such a planner myself, but in the last few years I have let that go, to just flow. You are a very good writer and I love reading your post...glad I found your blog! (Leigh..thank you!) Your baby girl is so beautiful! Good plan though....*wink wink*! Hugs!

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  7. Good for you for being in the moment enough to see that she was ready for that first tasty bite! I'm a planner as well (some may say a control freak). It's excruciatingly difficult to let things go, learning that life will happen at its own pace. A lifelong process...

    Glad to see you had a happy day, despite the snow!

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  8. Love that you just "went with it!" That is the best, in my opinion, kind of mama.

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  9. I have learned that my planning days have pretty much gone out the window! I love that you had planned her first meal and she totally changed it. We found at Thanksgiving my daughter loved real mashed potatoes. I hadn't given them to her, because I thought sweet potatoes were better for her (she loves them too!), but she devoured them! Yep, you just have to go with the flow. Happy New Year!

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  10. Loved this post...simply beautiful in every way..thank you so much and a hug from Holland xxx!

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  11. Oh my dear, sweet friend! I love this post so much! If I have figured out one thing now three years in to my own journey as a parent, it is that the only sure thing is that everything will change, usually just when you've got a few things figured out! My baby girl is rewriting the parenting plan I muddled my way through when my son was a baby. He was happy with purees, she wants nothing to do with them. So she subsisted solely on breastmilk for quite a while, until the day when her totally unsubtle clues finally got through - Give me your food Mama! Now!! So you know what she eats? Anythings she can mash with her gums, and nothing that qualifies as baby food. On today's menu? Quiche, pasta, white bean soup, stewed collards... I will never forget the look of relief on her little face when I finally stuck a bite of real, whole food into her mouth! Plan schman, says she! Here's to rewriting! And here's to a white Christmas - not on my farm, but at least on yours! - Sophie

    (PS - Have you heard of baby-led weaning? I'm pretty sure it is a fancy name for what Greta is teaching me at the moment!... Thank goodness for these little teachers of ours!)

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  12. Thank you all for your kindness, and sharing your wisdom of having "been there" too.

    Sophie, Yes! I've read a bit about baby-led weaning. I think Greta is doing just the right thing, bless her heart! I've heard that some babies become picky eaters later on if everything's been pureed for them - they then have difficulty with the textures of whole foods, especially vegetables. Seems to make sense to me. Your menu sounds absolutely fabulous, by the way :)

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  13. Beautiful! What a lovely story.

    I've become quite the planner since I had kids. I never was before. I can drive my family a little nuts sometimes.

    Funny that I read this on the day I fed our almost-6-month old son for the first time! I had planned to make a whole batch of food (organic butternut squash and sweet potato from the farmer's market). Then tonight as the beef stew and vegetable minestrone soup simmered he started licking, drooling and sucking on his lip at the air. I cut open the butternut squash, steamed it, pureed it and sat him down with me at the table. His brother (age 3) asked to give him the first bite -I let go and let him do it. It couldn't have been more perfect. Just like yours!

    They sure do teach us so much don't they. Like I always say to my husband, I'm on their time, not mine. :)

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  14. Thank you for sharing your experience. My daughter has consistently taught me that my plans mean...well, almost nothing. Our whole life together has been full of my plans and what happens to them when they include her :-) She has taught me to enjoy each and every moment to it's fullest, because who knows what might happen later.

    Cheers to our children, our greatest love and joy and our wisest teachers!

    Happy New Year, Jaime!

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  15. Ah, what a sweet post, Jamie. I am a planner too, and am really working to just roll with things when my plans don't work out. I am getting better too, I think. This sounds like a beautiful, spontaneous, family-and-love filled first bite. Your plan would have been too. But, in the end, good work to whoever is really doing the planning, right?!

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