Baby food doubles as finger paint.

Baby food doubles as finger paint. (By Jennifer Broadwater / July 15, 2013)

Danielle ate her first bite of baby cereal on her 6-month birthday. I had a cupcake to celebrate this milestone (totally fair, right?). As cereal dribbled down her chin, little did I know how much I would obsess and fret over her nutritional intake of solids in the months to follow. Or just how simple her all-milk diet had been.

Her diet is like an ever-changing puzzle that I am constantly adjusting and learning. I try to remind myself that what goes into her mouth is one of the few things she can control in her little world, so I try not to let her protestations rattle me. But I do often wonder what’s going through her head. To the best of my ability, here’s what I’m guessing.



Today’s a vegetarian kind of day. I greedily scarf down steamed broccoli. And carrots. And lima beans. And strawberries. And grapes. And hummus. And bread. Mama’s attempts at turkey meatballs fail.

I use my sign for “more” and mama applauds and brings me more. Sometimes I use “more” to mean “please bring me something different.” Mama complies.

I rip off my bib halfway through my meal.



Food is awesome! I will eat whatever mama puts in front of me. I eat half an avocado. I eat an entire veggie burger patty. I eat my squeezy pouch.

Mama tries to get me to use my sign for “more.” I stare at her blankly. She continues to prod me. I give her a slightly amused look, but remain otherwise still.

I rip off my bib halfway through my meal.



I will eat yogurt for breakfast, but only if I can feed myself with the spoon. Not much ends up in my mouth. This exercise becomes tedious and frustrating. I point to the box of Cheerios.

Black beans are so, so good. Can’t. Get. Enough. Black beans. I will not eat avocado today, or for the next week.

I rip off my bib halfway through my meal.



I will not eat black beans for at least 2 weeks.