I’m not the only one experimenting with a more veggie-focused diet. At 6+ months old and master of single-grain cereals, LilRunr was ready to foray into a new culinary world as well. I had prepared for this big step by purchasing one of those “make your own baby food” books. I liked the idea of being responsible for what he eats — I can make and freeze small batches, keeping the list of ingredients simple and eliminating extra preservatives and other unpronounceable items.
Lil’s first veggie was to be the SWEET POTATO. I lovingly chopped, steamed, and pureed a batch, pouring the finished product into these ice cube trays with lids and hoping against hope that the 24 cubes of sweet potato puree wouldn’t go to waste.
Then, the big day came. I strapped the unsuspecting (and slightly cranky) child into his high chair and sat down across from him. I had thawed one sweet potato “cube” — not a whole serving, but then I wasn’t sure how much he’d actually eat. Some rice cereal stood in the sidelines as backup in case the vegetable was immediately and definitely rejected.
Now…the tricky part. I wanted to give the child a heads up that his little world was about to be rocked, but how could I do so? Anything that comes near his face on a spoon so far has either been rice or oatmeal and flavored with a tablespoon or two of formula. The books say, “let the child smell the food as an introduction,” but if you put something ANYWHERE near this kid’s face, it is going into his mouth. Immediately. Ah, well. Here goes nothing. I put the tiniest dab of sweet potato on the end of his spoon. “Ok, buddy. This isn’t cereal, Ok? It’s going to taste different.”
Well, now I just feel silly. How much does he understand? Eh, on with the show. I put the spoon near Lil’ mouth, and he obediently chomps on it…and then an expression of total shock fills his face. It’s funny and priceless, and the little dab of sweet potato hangs off the edge of his lip. I put a bit more on the spoon. “What do you think, kiddo? Is it good? Would you like another bite?” and I offer him a second, slightly large bite of the new food. He hesitates, but I don’t force the issue. Then…CHOMP! In go the sweet potatoes, and this time he works his tongue around in his mouth like he’s trying to coat each and every taste bud with the new substance before smacking his lips. I’ve never seen this before — with cereal, it’s all business. I can’t tell that he’s really enjoying it…just that he’s hungry and it’s there in front of him. But with this……..he likes it! Actually likes it! I do a little happy dance in my head and prepare to tell my husband, He Who Does Not Eat Vegetables, that our baby boy has an open mind.
The recommended 5-7 days following his introduction to sweet potatoes, I set the bar even higher with pureed peas. Oh, boy. Something GREEN. Scott absolutely refuses to eat anything of this color, so he hovers around the dining room while I’m preparing to feed the little fella. I follow the same procedure — talk up the health benefits and general yumminess of peas, offer a tiny taste, then offer a bigger bite.
At the tiny taste, Lil’ pulls a face. It is not a happy face.
At the bigger bite, Lil’ obediently tries the peas but then gags when he tries to swallow. Interesting.
I offered him some water and then another bite — the gag reflex strikes again. Scott laughs and says, “that’s my boy!” while I chalk up a loss.
Next, I think we’ll try a little squash. I have a feeling it will have a more similar texture to sweet potatoes, and LilRunr may react more favorably to that.