Everything about feeding Charlie is a freaking nightmare.
Ever since we made the slow transition from formula to actual food, my one-year-old son has been perfecting the art of total chaos when it comes to eating. And it’s driving me to the brink of insanity, I tell you. I just can’t take it anymore.
There was a week or so when things were okay. But now when I go to feed him, BOOM; he looks me in the eye and gives me this glare that says,”DUDE. GET. THAT. SPOON. AWAY-FROM-MY-FACE-NOW!”
So in the true spirit of global parenting, I thought I’d at least offer up my worst baby feeding fails to the rest of the world. Maybe it’ll help someone down the line, someone with another Charlie on their hands.
1. The Airplane.
The airplane was such a success when it came to my older two kids. I used to just drag the spoon through the jar of liquid peas, hold it up above my head, make the sound of the the airplane humming through the sky, and then bring that food right home to a perfect landing into the mouths of hungry babes.
But with Charlie, forget about it. He was into the oldest technique in the book for maybe three or four days before he just started ignoring my airplane act altogether. I hum, I buzz, I fly that spoon in a wonderful little holding pattern above Charlie’s head, and he just moves from one side of me to the other trying to see the TV. And if I turn the TV off, he concentrates on a dead fly on the windowsill. It doesn’t matter to him, my airplane act is tired and uninspired.
It’s freaking heartbreaking is what it is. I was the best at The Airplane … THE BEST, I tell ya! But now I’m nothing but a rusted out fighter jet parked in the woods.
2. The Nice Warm Meal.
Making a nice hot homemade meal is an act of love. It’s comfort food. But with Charlie, it’s nothing but a crock of crap. Charlie doesn’t care if the food I try to serve him is warm. It means nothing to him. And he doesn’t care if it’s flecked with ice crystals or hotter than the Texas sun either. It’s all the same to him because he won’t be letting that food anywhere near the inside of his mouth as long as it’s me trying to feed it to him. Or his mom. Or his Grammy. Or some Michelin chef flown in from Paris.
The hardest part of all this for me is that he teases me. A lot. Charlie will mess with me, let me rub my spoonful of grub against his lips here and there.
Then, as soon as he catches how thrilled I am, he slowly reopens his mouth and stares deep through my eyeball in the very moment that he lets the food I just put in there dribble on out across his bottom lip and down onto his chest, like some kind of rejected slop discharged from the temple of refined taste.
Gimme a break.
3. “Charlie! Keep Your Hands Down!”
At first I kind of though that Charlie was just trying to play a game with me at mealtime. I even tried to convince myself that the little guy was being really cute. I’d bring a spoonful of food up to his mouth (after a few airplane dives above his head) and I’d be met by a pair of flying fists a lot like one of those viral videos where a kangaroo starts boxing the hell out of a man’s head (confession: I love those).
The food gets close, and Charlie begins to swing and jab at my hand with everything he’s got, pummeling my digits until all hell breaks loose and the food goes flying everywhere: in his hair/in my eye/onto the rug/down into the deep nooks of his highchair where I will never ever find it until it begins to emit a rancid reek three weeks from now.
Oh, Charlie. Bless his naughty heart. He doesn’t smile at all during this daily occurrence. See, the way I see it, this is his showtime; his Broadway; his Waterloo. He takes it very seriously, him slapping my hands away. In his mind I guess he sees this as very critical to his nightly performance.
Why? Well, I figure it’s because when he whacks my hand and the neon liquid carrots go sailing through the evening sky like a comet, two things happen: First off, he doesn’t have to eat any food I’m trying to serve him. And perhaps more importantly, my lad gets to have more food all woven up in his hair, which, to be quite honest, is basically all feeding ol’ Charlie is about anymore.