Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Age Of Sticky

Now that we've boldly entered the solid food-eating phase here at Casa NJ, there's a thin veneer of sticky all over the place. One end of the dining room table. Part of the dining room floor. NJ's clothes, bibs and spit-up rags. Her living room play mat. Plastic toys. NJ's face, hands and arms, and occasionally her legs.

It's all over the place, in other words. But it's not a giant flood of applesauce, half-chewed rice crackers and spilled pureed veggies. That, almost, would be better. No, it's little dabs of residue here and there, where you (I) least expect it. Yesterday I put a glass down on the table and picked it up again to find a little cereal star clinging to the bottom like it had grabbed onto the last helicopter out of Saigon.

I don't care how you feel about these things. I like 'em! Bring me more!
Not all of them end up in NJ's mouth, of course. She knows how to pick them up, and she knows they belong in her mouth. But if she closes her hand into a fist, that fist is what ends up in her mouth. The cereal may end up in her mouth, too, but it also may stay in that fist, soaking up drool, and come back out again. And stick to the back of her hand. Or her chin. Or her bottom lip. Or her shirt. Or ... just about anything.

In the photo above, NJ picked up all four of the pictured cereal stars, and 1) managed to eat one; 2) lost two in the palm of her very own hand, where they turned to a gooey mush; and 3) dropped one into her lap, where it eventually bounced to the floor. That's where Zeus snagged it. (Hallelujah for The Two Idiots and their ever-vigilant patrolling of the house. Yesterday NJ grabbed the edge of my cereal bowl and toppled it, spreading flax-seed granola and milk all over the office floor. I called Willie over and he quickly, efficiently cleaned up 80 percent of the mess.)

I'll eat half of this now and ball the other half up into mush and keep it in my hand for an hour.
When mixed with copious amounts of baby saliva, the rice crackers and cereal bits mix into a paste you could use to repair cracks in concrete. It sticks to everything and congeals in the blink of an eye. The resulting crust sticks to NJ's face and hands like barnacles on a ship's hull and she is not a big fan of mine when I clean it off her.

Anyone know a metal band that needs a lead singer? I can go with a green, red or white goatee, too, if orange is a deal-breaker.
The steamed, pureed fruits and veggies -- and yogurt, which was added to the mix last week and is a big favorite -- end up all over NJ's face, of course. But her new-found penchant for thumb-sucking has increased the mess factor four- or five-fold. You stick a thumb into a mouth that's festooned like the one in the photo above and that stuff is getting all over the hand. Then that hand goes to the hair, then the high chair table, then the other hand, then the shirt sleeve, then the sideboard next to the high chair. Soon it's "Carrots all around!"

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