When we first met QQ, she had many food aversions. She didn't require her bottle to be a certain specific temperature (as I've heard many orphanage babies do...as in scalding hot, or else!) but she didn't like food that was cool, as in recently refrigerated, or - heaven forbid - cold. Yogurt was out. Icecream made her gag. And there were texture issues as well - applesauce, for instance, even lukewarm, was disgusting to her.
She liked formula, and then formula with rice cereal. When we got home, I could blend Baby Yo, bananas, mangoes, or fruit babyfood in with the formula and cereal. But when we tried the veggie and meat baby foods, she would hurl the bottle across the room. Not acceptable.
The very first vegetable-related product she allowed past her lips was carrot juice, just a few weeks ago. She didn't just like it, she LOVED it, and drank an entire bottle, undiluted. But the resulting bowel movement was explosive and generally unworkable in any non-hoseable environment.
Well, in the past three weeks or so, she's changed her tune. As soon as I thought to enrich the vegetable blends with egg yolk and strained Greek yogurt, things began to turn around. She loved the combination.
A few days ago, when Jennie brought over a vegetable soup to help nurse us all back to the peak of health, I took a scoop of that and threw it in the blender with her lunch. The result was unparalleled.
Well, I thought...time to start cooking for the QiuQiu!
M's mom had recently brought over a slow cooker. Now, a slow cooker is not something that was ever a part of our culinary milieux when I was a child, and so I've never cooked with one. But I figured - what the heck. I've been wanting to make a good, hearty French daube for the past couple of winters, but didn't have the proper clay pot. Might as well give the slow cooker a try and see what happens.
Rather than go with a particular dish or recipe, I decided to go with what we had on hand for the season, and just wing it. After all, as long as there's yogurt and egg yolk involved, the kid's not picky. So I can mix just about anything for the "meat" of the dish.
I started with some herbs from the garden.
Followed by the yellow, red and orange veggies. No, I don't chop well. That's my husband's territory. He's the one who knows how to wield a chef's knife. Me, I use a dull camping blade, and I chop at random and with no regard to size or shape. But you know what? This is a crock pot meal, and it's all going to go in the blender in the end.
Then I added narrow, deep-green French beans.
A few onions, some baby spinach, and a couple of stalks of celery.
Season with dried herbs from the local spice shop (shallots and dill), a dash of extra virgin olive oil, a hint of rock salt, and go.
Six hours of cooking and a night of cooling in the fridge, add some roast turkey, a poached
egg yolk and the full-cream Greek yogurt, and it's ready for the blender.
Because QQ is only two weeks out from surgery, and her stitches and some of the packing are still in the process of dissolving, she's not supposed to have any rough particles in her food, so I put it all through a strainer and press it with a spoon.
Voila. A homemade and hearty autumn lunch.
Just look at how happy she is! This meal does a tiny body good.
And this is the gratifying result.
An hour later, on the return from our afternoon run, the tiny one begins to wake from her comfortable food coma.
This is the face that will stop you in your tracks. Those eyes!!
Still so, so sleepy...but the hands are beginning to creep toward the mouth. She will sometimes play happily for an hour or so without a single finger wandering toward her stitches...but once the idea enters her mind, there's no stopping her. That's when the dreaded arm braces have to go back on.
After two weeks, she is good and fed-up with the braces, and the minute I put them on and attached the Velcro strap, she started to scream.
I thought I had a solution...I had a pair of thumbless fleece mittens with me, and figured they'd prevent pointy fingers from entering her mouth without actually restraining her arms. Brilliant!
Or...not so brilliant. Here's a picture of the warning salvo of soft, menacing hisses.
This is not the worst she can dole out. Not even close. Nothing like the evil demon who appears when we put her in her crib at night. This is just an "I'm not happy, and I think you know why!" face.
Here's a hint: It's the mittens!!!!
And so it goes. Parenting is not easy.