When I was pregnant, I worried a lot about how my eating habits might affect the baby.
I have some… food issues.
I didn’t want Owl to be another carb addict like me.
On the bright side, he isn’t showing signs of having my obsession with potatoes and rice and pasta, but that’s only because it is eclipsed by his general obsession with all things that are edible.
He’s an equal opportunist feeder, who gobbles everything that slows down in front of him. He has been like this since he was born, considering that he was permanently attached to my booba for the first year and a half of his life, and that there are basically no foods that he will refuse to eat.
He eats like a hobbit.
We have fed him breakfast (scrambled egg, bacon, cheerios and four glasses of milk), second breakfast (more cheerios and an entire banana), elevenses (cheese, peanut butter sandwich), taken him to the mall and fed him lunch (chicken, calamari, rice, pita, cucumber, tomato, olives, tzatziki sauce), brought him directly home and as we walk in the door he has announced “My hungy. My want food.”
Except, unlike a hobbit, he is as skinny as ever, with visible ribs and a bumpy little spine. My friend The Farm Fairy once commented on how delicate his bony little fingers felt next to her son’s meaty paws.
Owl’s anything but delicate, in fact he appears to be made out of rubber, but it is amazing to me how he manages to process all of that food and still come out so tiny and waiflike.
If I could bottle his metabolism I would be both slim and rich beyond my wildest dreams.
We recently re-discovered this video of Owl at eight or so months getting overexcited at the sight of food and we laughed our heads off at it.
He may not scream like a wild animal at the sight of food any more, but food is very, very, very important to him.
Much of his imaginative play involves food. When he doesn’t have real food in his hands, he is pretending to eat something else, such as:
Me. Himself. The dog. His shoes. The fog.
Yes, that’s right. THE FOG.
“My eat the fog! Mmm! My like it!” while munching away on THE FOG.
When at a loss for things he can pretend to eat, he announces that he is “going shopping,” disappears around the corner with a casual “buh-bye, my go shopping now,” and reappears with his fists clutching imaginary candy and fictitious fruit, which he then eats while forcibly sharing it with us.
That’s one thing – for all of his fierce love of food, Owl isn’t selfish about it.
He believes that food is best enjoyed when shared with others, and will share food from his own plate in exchange for food from our plates, even though it is ALL THE SAME FOOD.
I can’t think of many times when I have handed Owl a snack and he has not immediately broken some of it off and offered it back to me.
Woe betide you if you refuse him, too.
“Mommy, that for you.”
“Thank you honey, but I don’t feel hungry for your half-chewed cheerio right now.”
“MOMMY! That YOURS!”
When I finally accept his dubious gift, I thank him for sharing and his whole face lights up.
“My shared?” he asks with wonder, amazed that he has done by accident that difficult thing which he hears so much about at Daycare.
For double levels of cuteness, check out this clip of him sharing his raisins with The Farm Fairy’s adorable giant Bub, who is eight months younger and eats half as much, but passed Owl in weight before he was 9 months old.
Owl is also very vocal about his love affair with food.
“Mmm! That yummy. MMMM. My like it!”
My friend Pug Mama took care of Owl the other day and said she really enjoyed this trait. “It’s so nice to get compliments on my meals!”
we Santa decided that Owl should get play food for Christmas. If we had more space and money he would have gotten a full toy kitchen to boot, but thankfully a child’s imagination doesn’t require a plastic kitchen in order to cook a good meal.
we Santa found was only $10 in the States, and it contains 90 pieces, including a little plastic cutting board and a toy knife. Watching him open this gift was hilarious, because he immediately began stuffing the toy food into his mouth.
He will sit there and remove every piece of food from the bucket, pretend to eat each and every one and then share it with everyone.
Sometimes he “cooks” it, which involves pressing the food onto the cutting board with his knife, much the way you might crush garlic, for a few seconds. He then announces that it is hot and hands it to me, watching with delight as I juggle it from hand to hand until it cools down and then pretend to eat it.
I didn’t realize, though, how deep Owl’s reverence for food went until my friend Pug Mama‘s son came over the other day.
My friend’s son is a well behaved, nice little boy who is always quite gentle with Owl. He baffled Owl by being more interested in the toy cars than the toy vegetables.
Then he got rowdy and started crashing himself into the pile of food, scattering toy chips and toy hot dogs everywhere and just enjoying the noise.
Owl was HORRIFIED.
Now, you have to understand, this is not sedate-child-meets-hellion situation.
If anything, my friend’s son is much more capable of playing quietly by himself than Owl, and Owl certainly enjoys making a good mess, and he absolutely LOVES this little boy’s Angry Birds game, happily smashing the walls with the little catapulted birds.
Destroying stuff is good fun.
But not when it’s FOOD.
He started shouting at his friend.
“NO! That my FOOD! NO NO NO!!”
When his friend crashed again, crushing/scattering more of the play food, Owl started trying to gather it up and protect it.
I have a distinct memory of him saying “That my YETTUCE!” while waving a plastic green leaf in his friend’s face, as if to say, “don’t you understand the inviolable sanctity of GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES?”
It seems that, like it or not, our child may have some food issues.
I can only hope that his metabolism will continue to keep up with his love of food, otherwise this could go sideways very quickly when he gets to be an adult.
Hopefully he will at least be a good cook.