A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I used to make photo diaries of my days when my children were very young. I felt like it helped me stay in touch with the world. I took pictures of everything we did, from morning til night, uploading my photos to Yahoo to create slideshows. Sometimes I shared them with other moms on message boards where I was active at the time. We were all doing it; sometimes we'd go for weeks, everyone sharing a slideshow in turn. I loved it. I think it was a lot like blogging, actually. Blogs were still pretty new when the LB was an infant. I tried it, which I don't think I've ever mentioned here. I had no traffic but I kept it going for about six months. I'd always wanted to try again; it took another six years to get up the courage. The photo diaries suited me just fine during that period, though; they were a record, just for me, of the busy but tedious days at home with young children, and I look back at them now with a mix of pride and amusement.
Lately, I'd been thinking about feeding them as babies. I think it's the time of year; they were both born in September and I started them both on solid foods at about six or seven months old, in the spring. They were exclusively breastfed before that. (I tend to avoid discussing breastfeeding in social situations (blogging included) because I know it can be controversial. But I am proud of my accomplishments in that area. I nursed them for years. I nursed through my second pregnancy and then tandem-nursed (nursed both children at the same time) for over a year as well. I let them wean themselves, which happened well into the toddler years for both).
I didn't set out to do it this way; in fact, I was squeamish about it right up until I had my first baby and was sure I'd only last a few days. But then my pregnancy went off the rails, the labor and delivery were nightmarish and my postpartum recovery was like something out of a Civil War tent hospital. I noticed that in all of this, the breastfeeding I'd so reluctantly started was the only thing actually going well. It was empowering, so I kept going. It was important to me to delay solid foods as long as I could, with both babies, and I was happy to nurse until the right time.
When we did start, I gave them single-grain cereals like rice and barley for a couple of weeks, then moved on to single-ingredient purees and mashes. I made their food myself and I loved it. We moved onto "grown-up" food fairly quickly; I just gave them the blander foods from my own plate, broken up or crushed as necessary. Watching them learn how to eat solids was exciting! They were so different in how they approached it. The LB preferred meats and cheese to starches. His sister was the opposite; she ate pasta, beans, rice and potatoes with extreme gusto. She is still far more likely to eat starchy foods than her brother is. But both have always liked fruits and veggies, even as babies. I can barely keep enough fruit (or baby carrots or cucumbers) in the house to meet their voracious demands. Not that I'm complaining.
I think that one reason I feel nostalgic about their early feeding is because it was simpler. They only ate what I gave them. They'd never had candy or soda or chips. They'd yet to experience the dubious wonders of McDonalds. I'm not particularly controlling of their diets as they've grown; we all get our fair share of treats around here. But like every part of growing up, there was a lovely, fleeting innocence. One of the best parts was their facial expressions. I'm so glad I took photos of some of these times (or had the Bear do it while I did the feeding).
They love the photos too; it's hard for them to conceive of a time when they hadn't already eaten everything they love (or hate) now. Yes, you were both little babies who had never tasted mushy bananas or watery peaches or smashed kidney beans or shredded bits of chicken! You don't remember it, but you were. And you were surprised and eager and you looked incredibly cute in your Fisher-Price high chair and your bib. You looked so much alike, but I can tell you apart; my son, more like me, and my daughter, more like Daddy, both of you exactly ours.