These days are over.
It started about a week ago, the change of policy regarding the spoon. But I didn't get the memo. I was too busy concocting a whole assortment of homemade baby foods--pureed sweet potatoes, zucchini, red lentil soup, and chili (all of which we were eating unpureed)--and things to mix with it--fresh ricotta, yogurt, tofu. Meanwhile, however, M. was quietly moving her game piece along the board of independence.
By this past weekend she would only eat what she could pick up and gum herself. Any sighting of the spoon would prompt an immediate clamping shut of the lips and the hand sign for "all done," which is a quick moving the hand from side to side as if polishing a table. She also does this sign, with two hands, when you try to change her diaper or put her in the stroller. The other children could be jollied into thinking they had scored a point for independence by giving them a spoon of their own to hold while I shoveled the usual food--chosen by me--into their mouths. But Miss M., without any noise or fuss, has made it clear that any outside involvement with her eating will be met with zero tolerance. Somehow you just know it's best to give up.
It's not dissimilar to the way in which she has calmly but unequivocally refused to have anything to do with crawling. She just never made a move when put on her belly, and then started trying to pull herself up and walk. Now when she is awake she will barely submit to sitting--her legs will not bend--and instead demands to be walked everywhere while holding on to someone's two hands, leaving a ruin of broken backs in her wake.
So, we started fishing the beans and pieces of diced sweet potato out of our chili and putting them on her tray along with anything else we could find that was soft. And today I made rice and roasted sweet potatoes and some overly steamed carrots and zucchini and bought tofu and wheatgerm, which I will use to make her some jumjills, which are little balls of soft, combined foods fed to a bad, vain, doll-eating monster by a kind old man hoping to stop the doll-eating, in the book The Funny Thing.
So, I have an eight-year-old who still likes me to dress him, a four-year-old who still nurses, and a nine-month-old who wants to walk and feed herself and barely cares about nursing but instead wants to race out of her babyhood and into her future.
Another round to Mairead!