Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Astronauts are helping me feed my child!

It's true. And it's cute!

After a long and tedious spate of teething and illness, Indi's relationship with food had taken a backward step. While she was under the weather, we were lucky if she had five mouthfuls of food all day. Which in and of itself isn't a problem. I'm not worried she'll waste away or anything. But then she would ask for constant "meme" (Turkish for breast, kinda pronounced meh-meh with less emphasis on the 'h'). Which would drive me bananas. I have made a commitment to breastfeed my child until she is well past two, possibly three, as I really believe in the health and emotional benefits of doing so for the child. But really, personally, I'm not in love with the process. I've never been one of those women who go all doe-eyed at the sight or mention of breastfeeding, who feels physical pleasure and joy whilst nourishing their babe. I wish I was! It would make life so much easier! Maybe I would have been if Indi had fed every two to three hours like a lot of babies do (much to my amazement!). From birth Indi often fed every half hour, extending it to an hour at a long stretch. Sometimes she fed for hours on end, especially when it was hot. It was actually really hard work for me, the hardest thing I have ever had to do I think. Looking back (and really I didn't intend this post to be about breastfeeding, but here we are... ) I think that the frequency and intensity of Indi's feeding probably set the tone for my relationship to breastfeeding. Maybe if I had had a two to three hour break between feeds, I would have felt differently about it all. Who knows?

Anyway, (I've missed my long rambly blog posts!) so she was hardly eating, hardly sleeping, and breastfeeding all the time, and I was going nuts. But gradually her teething and cold subsided, and she got a bit of an appetite back, which was great. But it wasn't really where I wanted it to be. Sometimes it needed a bit of a kickstart. Sometimes she sat there, hungry, but didn't eat. It was as though she had gotten out of practice or something. One day, after preparing a healthy and delicious meal for us all, and knowing she was hungry, I was gettin' kinda frustrated when she, once again, refused to eat anything. She was excited as she saw the meal being served, and happily sat in her special chair with the cushion on it to boost her up. But nope, head turned to the side, chin up, she was not gonna be eating any of it thankyouverymuch.

After unclenching my jaw, I spotted one of her favourite toys at the moment, one which provides her with literally hours of entertainment. It was one of the many little astronauts we have about the place, from a spaceship toy collection of Mat's from when he was a teensy tiny cute little thing. These astronauts have baths with her, they get carried to the car and back when we go on trips, they get pushed around the house on her little trolley, or in her little wooden car, and of course they go on regular trips out into the cosmos on their many little spaceships of various shapes and sizes. On any given day you can look at any part of our house and see one somewhere, anywhere, as there are quite a few of them. So one happened to be on the kitchen table as we sat to eat our lunch. And I had a brainwave. I grabbed a bit of bread, impaled it on the arm of one of these astronauts, and suddenly the astronaut was asking Indigo if she wanted some bread. Well! You should have seen the look on her face. She leaned forward, eyes wide and mouth agape, and happily ate the bit of bread from off his little arm. And asked for more. And more. Success! A full tummy! A happy mama! Once again my brilliance and genius was on display for all the world to see - I love it when that happens!

So, since then, Indigo has been offered lots of food by the very generous and accommodating astronauts. Basically anything that has enough shape to be impaled onto something favoured can be guaranteed of some success consumption-wise, at least for a bit. And other toys have stepped in too, occasionally. She has had bits of tomato impaled onto the tail of one of her Siberian tiger figurines. And today she even had an astronaut straddle a spoon full of pumpkin soup, which turned it from (and I quote) "Yuk!" (this was as I was spooning it into her bowl, she hadn't even tasted it), to a silent but definite Yum.

Occasionally I wonder where this will end, whether she'll be fifteen and asking for food to be delivered on the end of her ipod or something. But for now, it's fun, it's damn cute, and it means a few less demands for the breast, which means a bit more sanity for this mama. And that's gotta be good, surely.

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