Adventures in Eating

The sunlight beams through the cracks in the blinds, reflecting off the red paint on the walls.   In the distant background is the sound of the local news, something to play just as a bit of a filler to dilute the silence.   The sun moves in and out of the clouds, placing dancing shadows along the floor.   One little boy, sits squirmly in a wooden high chair, his legs moving around aimlessly as he begins to turn his body around.   His mother glances over every few seconds as she mixes the cereal with breast milk. The dog is sitting at her feet, a little bit drool dripping down the side of her mouth as the baby starts talking.

At first, the mother wonders what he could possibly be thinking or trying to communicate as she continues to move the spoon in a clockwise direction, hoping to get the consistency just where it needs to be.  After all, this is only her second foray into the world of something other than breast milk.   She’d purposely held off as long as possible, eager to continue with the bond that breastfeeding creates between a mother and her child.   Yesterday; however, she gave in, understanding that she was no longer satisfying her son’s appetite.  The realization immediately depressed her and brought her down, and even as she mixed the cereal she had a pang of guilt about feeding him the cereal.   The loud giggle from her precocious little boy brings her out of her state of mind and she smiles as she realizes that this is the next step in his growth.   This is going to be another learning experience in his life and her’s as well.

Her dog has moved from her feet to the legs of the high chair.   She smiles peacefully as her son as he reaches out to the dog, eager for the affection of the family pet.   The dog licks at his hand and he giggles just a bit harder as his mother walks over to the high chair.   Quietly and almost with a sense for dread, she pulls up a kitchen chair and puts the bowl of cereal on the kitchen table.

Her son’s bluish gray eyes look back at her and within an instant he tilts his head back and giggles hard as he rears back in the chair.   She smiles at him and immediately pushes away her reservations she has about not feeding him breast milk, after all this is only one feeding a day of cereal.   She isn’t going to completely sever that bond of breastfeeding and if she wants the “glass half full” attitude, this is going to be a new bonding experience.   With a deep breath, she spoons a bit of the soupy milky mixture into his mouth and watches with her breath held to see what he will do.

At first, he seems to let it sit in his mouth almost as if he is debating what this new thing is.   She wonders if he is fearful of the food, fearful of the way he is receiving it.   She is fearful as to whether he will like it or whether he will have an adverse reaction to it.   Slowly, he begins to move his tongue around as he slowly swallows what is in his mouth.   She smiles and even giggles as she offers him a congratulatory peck on the forehead.   What a good baby he is!   She and her husband definitely lucked out with this baby.

An hour goes by.   The dog proves to be distracting, the light fixture mesmerizing, and the food a play toy.   What was once a clean baby, quickly devolves into a cereal bath reminiscent of the days when the dog would play in the mud.   Her son seems to be happy AND here’s the big part, satisfied.   Finally she lets out the breath that she unconsciously had been holding for an hour.   They had survived, both of them and the best thing is that it was fun.

As she cleans her son, the high chair and the floor (as he had moved his head during one feeding and some of the cereal poured onto the floor), she is overwhelmed with a sense of happiness, excitement, love, and accomplishment.   What a wonderful new experience this had been.   They both survived and came out happier for it.

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