As money is tight I’ve been trying new recipes instead of relying on old favourites that may cost more, but one I had wanted to try for a while was risotto. It’s fairly labour intensive or rather it is kitchen intensive so it had to wait for a time when Tony was home and could stop Freya wrecking the place. It turned out really well. We had to use the loaded spoon technique, but she could pick out the chicken bits herself and I cooked some veg to go with it. It wasn’t actually any cheaper to make than some of the other things we have but it was so nice that we may have it again.
On the cooking front I have also been making soups. I haven’t tried the bread soaked in soup for weaning yet and there’s no way Freya is steady enough for loaded spoons of it so she had the chunks of meat and veg with a rice cake which went down very well. It was Thai chicken noodle soup so I dread to think how much salt ended up in it, but I didn’t add any extra salt (even though the recipe said to) and since she didn’t drink the soup itself I think it was ok. Besides, when you look at it over the course of the week, or even the day, I think it all evens out.
We are having a little trouble with our carpets. I have been sitting Freya on the floor for lunch as she has been pretty good at not making much mess, but unfortunately all those little bits of mess have added up and now our carpet is in a terrible state. Blame the lazy woman who can only wash up once a day and so the Bumbo is never clean for the lunch times. The worst culprit by far has been plum. It’s not helped by the fact that Freya often drops it and then skilfully sits in it. Really, her bum shifting accuracy scares me sometimes.
On the teething front we have two bottom front teeth and definitely something going on at the top. At the weekend we were woken up by screaming at 3am on both Friday and Saturday nights and it took much rocking, feeding and finally firmness to get her to go back to sleep. I know we are really lucky in that Freya has always slept through from an early age and so I never feel too bad about it. I know there are many unlucky parents out there with very wakeful babies.
So I was at the music type baby group thing today and for the first time Freya didn’t cry. You see they are allowed to play with instruments for some of the songs, but after the songs they have to put them away. Freya has such a nice time chewing on the instruments that she objects to this quite strongly and with tears. She also gets quite tired towards the end and this leads to the grumps. She has got better gradually, but I have got into the habit of carrying some food with me so that if Freya is happily nomming on a set of bells and they are taken away, she can nom on a rice cake instead.
Today we had moved round the room due to Ring a Ring of Roses and I was away from my changing bag. Another mum approached me a bit later and handed me Freya’s lunch box. Apparently her sneaky son (who is actually adorable) had ‘found’ the lunch box and had been relieved of it by said mum. So having it in my possession and knowing the session was nearing the end I thought Freya might like something. I opened the lunch box and the small thud of opening Tupperware seemed to catch the attention of all the babies and toddlers in the room. Three or four crawled or toddled straight for Freya and I. I quickly handed Freya the rice cake and backed off. A couple of them were restrained by parents, but I was impressed at how firmly Freya held on to her snack. It was her rice cake and no baby no matter how much bigger he was was going to get it from her. I was very impressed, but seeing them all going for the food was still the funniest thing I had seen all week.
Changing the subject slightly. One thing that has caught me unprepared is the lethal combination of crawling and pincer grip. Now although I’m not the messiest person in the world I do not hoover every day if I don’t have to, but this may have to change. If Freya finds the smallest crumb or the tiniest piece of paper and she will eat it. I knew this was coming. It’s obvious really and I’ve seen other babies doing it, but I’m still not ready for it. Everywhere we go she will find something to put in her mouth. I am reluctant to fish things out unless there’s an obvious danger as I always imagine I will only push it further in. Poor starved baby having to eat paper…
Now although we follow a Pagan path in our household, we enjoy Christmas dinner as much as the next person, and presents, and lights, and decorations etc. So we were obviously excited about Freya’s first Christmas. We had bought her a few present, but didn’t go overboard as at 9 months I don’t think she was really aware of anything except that there were all these boxes that she wasn’t allowed to touch. Dinner was going to be a simple affair as we were having Christmas day alone and then seeing family on Boxing day. I got a large chicken breast joint thing from Sainsbury and did mashed potato, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. Tony isn’t that keen on roast potato so I didn’t see the point and I don’t mind mashed potato. The idea was to have this at lunch time but we didn’t dressed until late so by the time I was ready to cook Freya was already begging for food so instead we put her out of her agony with some lunch and did it for the evening meal. It was almost perfect. The mashed potato was creamy and smooth and the chicken well cooked, but I couldn’t help thinking that there was something missing. It wasn’t until three days later, when we had come back from visiting relatives, I realised that in the oven lay some roast sweet potatoes now all cold and shrivelled. Never mind. Freya really enjoyed what we gave her anyway.
Boxing Day we went to my sister’s house for a party. I had to be more careful about what she ate there as it was mostly processed snacks and crisps. She was a little tired and overwhelmed to eat properly anyway, but I think she had a mini sausage, some bread and some pineapple and cheese on sticks. My sister in law was very impressed that she was drinking from a cup, but remained sceptical about baby led weaning even though Freya did demonstrate that it was perfectly safe. She even showed her a little gag and was very surprised to find herself being patted on the back.
That night we stayed with Freya’s great grandparents and she decided that this was so exciting that she couldn’t possibly go to sleep before 11.30pm and even then she tried to put up a fight when I realised she was getting grumpy. I had packed a small selection of foodstuff so that if she got hungry I had something for her. A banana, some plums and a rice cake. As she hadn’t eaten much at my sister’s, she ate the plum before bed and I think I gave her the banana in the morning. The poor old rice cake didn’t get a look in.
Although I’m glad I took the extra snacks, it was really liberating to have her just eat what was available and enjoy it. She really isn’t that fussy and will eat whatever is put in front of her with minimal fuss. We had taken the Bumbo with us so wherever we were we could sit on the floor with her. She certainly doesn’t mind sitting at the table but until I can get hold of one of those seats that you can strap to the dining chairs it’s the floor I’m afraid.
The only other thing to report is that Freya is now showing signs of preferring certain foods (pasta) over others and we are also getting to the stage of her eating things one day and then not touching them the next. I’m not worried. All I can do is offer it and, if she doesn’t want it, I eat it or it goes in the bin. It’s not like I’ve gone to any extra effort making food just for her. That’s the beauty of baby led weaning.