My Grandson Likes Food With Some Bite


On the momentous occasion of my grandson turning nine months old, his pediatrician royally announced that he could now eat whatever those around him were eating — everything except honey.

I rejoiced at this because we had been sterilizing, straining and otherwise blandifying his food, and now I could introduce him to French fries!

“No!” my daughter Jen ordered. “No French fries.”

“But French fries are one of life’s great joys!” I protested.

“Well, the dogs love their food, too, but we’re not giving it to him,” she replied.

Personally, I’m pretty sure Skippy has been eating dog food since the day he learned to crawl. I mean, we watch him like a hawk, but a crawling baby ventures where others fear to tread — under tables, behind drapes, deep into the unknown recesses of the pantry.

And, during these adventures, he will sometimes get lucky and come across a dropped raisin, a rolling Cheerio, an errant bit of kibble. This is why you so often see frantic parents with a finger in their child’s mouth, rooting around to see what the heck the kid is chewing on.

The kid’s job is to demurely and discreetly swallow before the prize can be fished out. If he can look up innocently with big blue eyes, all the better. It’s another one of those games families play.

“If you go out, I only want him eating at the restaurants his father and I eat at,” Jen continued. “That way I know he is getting organic, free-range, locally grown, recently harvested, wholesome food.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Skippy pull something out of the compost bin, turn his back to his mother and quickly stuff it into his mouth. I didn’t mention it. After all, compost is about as organic as you can get. Instead I said, “OK.”

The very next day, Mark and I decided to celebrate Skippy’s new menu choices by taking him to one of the parent-approved restaurants. Nothing fancy, just a Mexican place. Mark broke off tiny bits of soft tortilla for him, and I cut a piece of chicken into kibble-sized bits.

Skippy was in heaven. He popped these things into his mouth as fast as he could and did his best to chew them — quite a feat given that both his teeth are on the bottom. Soon he had advanced to beef bits and then, the moment we let our guard down, he grabbed a handful of salsa and slobbered it into his face.

“Oh, no!” I hollered. “He’s got a mouth full of salsa! Tomatoes and onions and red peppers and… and… man, that kid really likes his salsa.”

As we sat there in amazement, Skippy ate a tomato’s worth of salsa then reached for his sippy cup.

“He’s thirsty,” Mark said.

“Ya think?” I replied.

Later that day, at dinner, his mother gave him a tablespoonful of garlic mashed potatoes, also a hit. The entire serving soon disappeared.

“He seems to prefer things with flavor,” I commented… just before he breathed on me.

Hmm. Probably not what they were envisioning when they named those delicate white flowers “Baby’s Breath.”

Hopefully, Skippy also likes the minty fresh taste of organic mouthwash.