real kids, real food

If you’ve followed my blog at all, you’ll know I’m a proud new Mama to a 10 month old little boy. Becoming a Mama has been a mind-blowing, overwhelming, humbling, terrifying, unbelievably proud experience.

One of the most exciting aspects of being a Mama so far has been my boy’s foray into solid foods. We are still enjoying breastfeeding, but at 26 pounds and 2 1/2 feet tall, breast milk alone is just not cutting the mustard!

We grow as much as our own food as we can, and our baby’s food has been no exception. My hubby worked his brains out in the garden last summer while I was stuck in the house pregnant and barfing. His hard work has meant that our freezer was stocked with homegrown, organic veggies waiting to be made into baby food.

As with everything, we’re not overly hardcore. Life demands compromises. Our boy ate store-bought organic brown rice baby cereal. Not ideal, but it is what it is. All my homemade cereals ended in gagging and tears (on both our parts.)

What will not find its way to our table are those scary toddler microwave dinners that line the grocery store shelves. Seriously. Microwave dinners for kids??? WTF. That is just wrong. And not necessary.

I wanted to start my kid off on the right food, not prep him for a life of  frozen dinners from a box. So once all the gagging settled down, we began introducing solid food. Real food. Whole food. Tasty food.

I refused to believe all this garbage about kids only eating certain kinds of foods. I cringe every time I hear someone offer their child a new taste with the preface You probably won’t like this . . . Why??? WHHHHHYYYYY?

Talk about setting yourself up for failure.

So we’ve given him whatever we’re eating. (We were of course mindful of allergies.) After the initial introduction period we dove in head first. Our boy has quite literally; I’m pretty sure more of his food makes it into his hair than his mouth.

I’ve had friends who let their kids approach food as an experience, something fun and enjoyable – and those wee ones have grown into toddlers who can handle spicier carnitas than I can!

That is what I want for our boy. I want our son to grow up enjoying his food, knowing what real food tastes like. I want him to know where it comes from, how to grow it, and what to do with it in the kitchen. I want him to take pride in what he eats, and joy. Mostly joy.

Food is one of life’s simplest, most readily accessible pleasures. If I only allow him to eat ham sandwiches and junk food I’d be denying him that. That’s not fair.

So we are feeding him real food. Not baby food. Just food.

He is 10 months old and he eats eggs from the chickens he cheerfully greets every morning with a wave and a “Bwock Bwock!” He eats organic lamb and beef and chicken and quail and pork. Spicy pork stir fry with brown rice? Sure. Skettie and meatballs? Of course. Mushroom risotto and lobster? That too. Toast with real butter. Buckwheat pancakes. His Dad’s homegrown peas and carrots. Organic yogurt. Berries from the garden. Food. Real food.

As a mother, I couldn’t be more proud. He makes a mess. Spaghetti gets everywhere. His shirts get stained and the floor gets washed again and again and again. But he feeds himself, and he is proud. Already, if we try to feed him, we get a calm but certain shake of the head – NO.

I return to my reflection at the beginning of this post. Becoming a Mama has been a humbling experience. I often think of that lovely quote – I was a perfect mother. And then I had kids.

I have no idea if my son’s 10 month old eating habits will translate into a lifelong love of real food. But it’s a good start.

6 thoughts on “real kids, real food

  1. Kate

    I love this!!! I too try my best to give my 10 mo. old a real whole food experience with organic food that I make myself. I have 4 older boys (2 stepsons) and they have picky eating habits despite my best efforts! The key I have learned is sharing & eating food with your baby from the start! I applaud your efforts to share real food with your son and help him have a positive food experience!

    Reply
    1. The Slow Foods Mama Post author

      Thanks for the encouragement, Kate!

      Like I said, it could all backfire and he may want to eat nothing but Velveeta, KD and Twinkies when he gets older as some twisted form of teenage revolt, but for now we’re having a hoot!

      Reply
  2. Viv

    Great post! I’m not sure when we as a society decided that kids didn’t eat the same food as adults? I’m always being told by people that “oh you’re so lucky, your two are such good eaters, mine would never eat *that*”. I just don’t get it!! Why wouldn’t they eat vegetables, or meat, or spicy stuff when they can see that we enjoy it.
    I love that first foray into proper food with babies, when they get more of it on themselves and up the walls and anywhere but in their mouths. What an adventure! Wait til he’s older and wants to help make the dinner too lol – then the housework really goes flying out the window 🙂

    Reply
    1. The Slow Foods Mama Post author

      It is bizarre, isn’t it? I know folks who say that, but then when I see their attitude towards their kids’ food it’s pretty clear that the poor little ones didn’t ever have a chance. If you’re only ever offered white bread and processed foods, thats all you’ll ever know.

      I CANNOT wait for him to start cooking with me. My niece started planning and preparing meals for her family at 6. She is 10 now and could run the household single handedly. He is already super curious, watching me mix and chop so I’m sure it won’t be long!

      Reply
  3. Kristin

    My daughter is almost three now, and we followed the same basic approach with her when she was starting to eat solid foods. We just gave her some of whatever we were eating, for the most part, and never gave her the idea that kids could or would or should eat different food from adults. While I know that some kids just have a pickier temperament no matter what you do, I’m happy to say that our approach has paid off with our daughter. She is a terrific eater and really loves a wide variety of unprocessed real food. Occasionally she encounters something she doesn’t like as much, but overall she’s a very adventurous eater. The other day she was eating Thai curry paste straight out of the jar! LOL

    Reply
    1. The Slow Foods Mama Post author

      That’s so encouraging to hear, thank you! We get a lot of nay-sayers – oh sure he’ll eat that NOW. But I’m hopeful. Our garden is full of beautiful organic edibles, so I’m hoping the fun factor of picking and eating and growing his own will outweigh any anti-veggie sentiment down the road. 🙂

      Reply

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