My entry in the Erma Bombeck Humor Writing Competition did not win. That’s because a thousand funnier women also entered. But, you can read it for FREE right here! Please, don’t judge it because for five minutes I’ll be insecure and delicate.
Sucking Food from a Bag
By Elaine Ambrose
I used to feed my little ones with a spoon shaped like an airplane. Now they open their mouths every time they hear a plane.
But we had great fun during mealtime. I’d strap their wiggly body into the highchair and begin the mommy dance of getting most of the food into their body as the rest splattered on the walls and in my face. The airplane spoon worked best and we had great travel adventures right there in the kitchen.
“Here it comes, (creative airplane noises), open up!”
The animation worked until I tried to sneak in blended peas or stewed prunes. Then even the most daring and high-diving airplane spoon couldn’t open the steel mouth of refusal. But, this pilot was no dummy. Sprinkle a few berries on top of the concoction and that fortress opened faster than the mouse ran up the clock.
What’s up with wee toddlers sucking food out of pouches? Now clever marketers and busy parents have discovered food pouches that offer quick, easy, and convenient ways to feed babies. Slap on an “organic” label, and you can dash out the door guilt-free. Just don’t forget to take the baby.
Ancient civilizations used to chew their food and then give it to their babies. Personally, I recommend a food blender. I wonder if today’s young parents know that they can take regular food and smash it into mush to make it easier to feed their toddlers. I suspect this technique was used by all the generations before 1927 when Mrs. Dan Gerber, the wife of a Michigan canning company owner, asked her husband for help in straining peas for their infant daughter. Now Gerber sells 190 products in 80 countries, and in 2007, Gerber was sold to Nestlé for $5.5 billion. Well played, Mrs. Gerber.
My baby son didn’t like processed baby food. That could be because he weighed 20 pounds when he was four months old and had the appetite of a high school football player. He preferred soup, mashed potatoes, and hamburger. By age one, he was gnawing on steak bones. If I had offered him a pouch of processed baby food, he would have toddled out the door and attacked the neighbor’s cat.
I believe a special experience is lost when a toddler is strapped into a back car seat sucking food from a bag while Mommy is swearing as she maneuvers through traffic. It’s probably okay to use the food pouches in emergencies, but otherwise I say bring back the airplane spoon, sit down face to face, and have some fun. Delightful toddlers have a way of turning overnight into aloof teenagers, so enjoy a captive audience while you can.