In the western world the word “pride” is so much a part of the culture that the word itself punctuates the language. We’re reminded to “Take pride in..X” in order to achieve, reprimanded with the question “Have you no pride?” and congratulated with “You must be so proud!”. Pride and to be proud is a seemingly positive trait. As a new Muslim entering into Islam from this modern western mindset “pride!” is one trait that trips you up again and again and after kids it’s especially difficult to keep a lid on it when we’re expected to celebrate our kids with pride, from meeting up after the birth to “show off” the baby, to the t-shirts we dress them in – “Cute and I (Mama) know(s) it”. It doesn’t matter that it’s mostly said tongue in cheek, to be out-and-out proud (no pun intended – if you’re out then please be proud) is considered a sin and an arrogance and one we’ll be punished for severely. This doesn’t mean of course that we should not “take pride” in our work or our appearance or our children, just that we should be mindful of crossing the line into proudness. The funny thing is though that where kids are concerned, God has a way of letting them send the reminder. Like when the baby starts standing so you conference Skype everyone and the baby sits smiling at the screen the whole call, or when you go to snap a lunchtime photo with an already in-your-head caption “Babyled lunch: lemongrass mushrooms etc etc” only for the not-so-baby-baby to – for the first time ever! – spit out the first mouthful he tastes. Pride may come before a fall but it also falls quicker with kids.
Oyster mushroom concoctions aside, using the babyled weaning technique with M has proven to me that this ‘method’ of letting the kids simply feed and help themselves does aid in the development of a wide and curious palate into toddlerhood. An avid believer in the theory when M was born, I applied it rigidly when he began to experiment with food so that aside from altering the foods we offered in the beginning to accommodate overenthusiastic use of brand new teeth (M looks so wee here!) we never took control of his eating experience, no matter how stressful for us (a baby’s gag reflex is toward the middle of their mouth meaning it can often look and sound like they’re choking when actually they’re fully in control) or how much mess he made with lasagne. With T however, though still applying the principles of letting baby learn about real food from the beginning, the application of the method has had to adapt slightly to balance both my sanity with cleaning meal messes from two, and M’s sensitivy to mess in general. T eats whatever we eat, and mostly by himself, but if it’s soupy or too gloopy or is laden with any likely-trauma-for M’s-sensibilities inducing sauce, we help him to eat it less messily.
At ten months old, T eats as much as M does and more, washing it all down with breastmilk for strength – so grateful still to be all-round feeding this kid.
Oh yes, and whereas M was dairy-free to a year, thanks to his brother feeding him dessert from the fridge when Mummy’s unsuspecting back was turned, we’ve known he was alergy free from seven months meaning ice-cream is too on the menu!