Getting Real with Kira Hazledine
Given my previously mentioned tendency to make claims about a child that I hadn’t met, I think this is also why I clung harshly to a single rule. Every parent has their vice, that one standard that they said they would NEVER do and, damn it, they meant it. Mine was food. Although my precious Hallie was never restricted to anything organic (because I’m way too lazy for that), I still prepped all of her food at home up until WIC paid for it. Most importantly, sugar did not touch her lips but once before her first birthday. That was a bite of MY cake that she stole, which I can’t blame her for, but I was adamant that she would learn to love healthy food.
Healthy eating starts at a young age, and I did my best to give Hallie a balanced diet. At 4 months old Hallie was showing an interest in solids, but WIC hadn’t kicked in yet, and it seemed silly to purchase baby food (I’m a self-acclaimed frugalist). So I spent my nights cooking and grinding peas, carrots, bananas, and pears, and whatever else I thought she would enjoy. I also mixed breastmilk in to achieve the desired consistency, despite the odd smell it brought to our kitchen. I claimed that it added nutrition, to which my family said I didn’t need to worry about cooking them dinner anytime soon, in case they were also victims of “added nutrition”. Ha.
I spent many nights wondering why I was slaving over a stove and then packaging the food into freezer and fridge friendly baby portions. I could never tell how much she ate versus how much I wore. I then further questioned my early packaging of “real-people” food, because when I was granted free baby food at 6 months, most of it went to charity. Hallie refused to eat baby food. Was it the texture? The taste? I’ll never know. I could hide some pureed spinach in oatmeal, but she caught on to my tricks pretty quickly. Hallie loved real food and would stare longingly at my chicken wings until I finally gave in and gave her the tiniest bites a human could possibly have.
The real question: was it worth it? Will my child be a slave to chicken nuggets regardless of what I do? Probably. As for right now, she loves raw broccoli and carrots. She will happily munch on apple slices and celery sticks, and she has a fondness for tart flavors. Of course, she will ditch everything on her plate if offered a Cheeto, but I’m thrilled that she genuinely enjoys healthy flavors too. I was so worried that she wasn’t going to get enough fruits and vegetables. I still worry that she isn’t eating right, but I think my early efforts reflect now. She loves healthy food, and that makes me one proud momma. I imagine I will do the same for the next child, especially since I bought a food processor, so I’m a little invested. Pureed peas with breastmilk are in my future, regardless of how bad it smells, because healthy eating is an early lesson I want all my children to learn.