My little man is eating now, and I mean really eating. Not just sucking or drinking or slurping from a bottle (or boob). No, he is EATING. Eating crackers, puffs, yogurt, fruit, cereal, rice, pasta, veggies, mashed stuff, pureed stuff, chopped stuff, cold stuff, warm stuff, not-quite-hot stuff, and his favorite – nearly-frozen stuff.
Combine that with two fat teeth poking out of his once soft gums resulting in a never-ending string of drool hanging from his lip, and ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a HOT MESS.
Cute, right? Yeah, it was cute, for a second, maybe. Now it’s a nightmare. And my sweet-and-tender, “oh look at the cute baby” mommy voice has turned into a constant drone of, “oh look, more green crusty crud in his hair, and in his ear, and between his toes, and oh look, my couch has speckled cracker crust splattered across it.” I’m covering the house in vinyl.
But the part that really irks me, I mean just takes me to a whole new level of mommy’s-gone-cuckoo, is that my son is not the only one layered in meal bits. Naturally a six-month-old cannot feed himself. No, mommy must feed baby. And baby reaches out and tries to grab mommy with baby’s mushy-crumb-encrusted fingers.
I kid you not, I disrobe every night only to find dried up sweet potatoes and vanilla wafers stuck underneath my bra and in my socks. Only God knows how this baby-food-in-the-undergarments phenomenon occurs, but it never fails that my son manages to cover me and all my 2000 parts in regurgitated snacks (isn’t it the mamma bird that is supposed to do the regurgitating?)
It’s one thing that mommyhood has caused me to revert to wearing elastic-waisted cotton sweatpants and wrinkle-free t-shirts, but must I look schlumpy and dirty? Honestly, on those rare occasions that I manage to leave this pigsty and enter civilization, people must wonder if I wash dishes for a living. Except a dishwasher is probably wearing an apron (good idea) and manages to wash, not soil, themselves.
I, on the other hand, am a walking dog biscuit, and it is a miracle that I have not been eaten alive. But then maybe the remnants of my son’s dinner are even too dingy for the appetite of a stray dog or sewer-dwelling rodent.
Dear God of all things pure and clean,
Why did you decide that babies should first learn to crawl, walk, and talk before they learn to properly feed themselves? I wonder if you realized that those things could come second to a clean and tidy meal experience. And in case you are still contemplating that decision, maybe you could rewire things so that my future children (if I dare) learn to carefully and meticulously feed themselves shortly after, let’s say, month six.
Or, maybe we could work something out similar to what goes on in my oven when it gets all yucky and crusty. Shut the hatch, lock ‘er up, and self-clean she goes! Babies can be self-cleaning, can’t they? My dog is (and thank you very much for that, by the way).
But in the meantime, help me to scrounge up the last particles of my patience so that next time my son flings mushy carrots across the room and it lands in my over-priced-shampooed hair, I grin and say, “eating is fun, isn’t it baby!” rather than beckoning the dog in hopes that he'll clean my son with his coarse yet effective dog tongue.