A few days ago I added a maybe somewhat headlong comment to one of Deb's last posts. In short I claimed that, as a parent with a small child, you're often better off ignoring the advice a lot of people give. I must admit that's probably way too harsh, and I'm sorry if I offended someone with my opinion. What's right for me might be wrong for someone else (exactly one of the reasons for my opinion on the matter, logic eh?). But this got me thinking: why do I have such a black/white opinion on this matter? It has probably a lot to do with my being an Italian in Germany. When you have your first child you're inevitably on the insecure side: everything is new. Relatives friends and even strangers feel they should advise you: most of the time with good intentions but sometimes just to be annoying. That in itself can sometimes make you even more insecure. But when the advices come from both Italian AND German child rearing mentality you just get mad. These two go together like water and oil. And that makes ME probably quite intolerant on the subject. Maybe now I start to see a way to "emulsify" ;-) the two. I can't avoid being a bit more partial to the Italian way, at least in some respects. Still the way Germans rise their children has many positive sides. Except one: what really annoys me is the food/eating tips you get here.
Doctors and nurses here promote a healthy but quite boring "feeding plan": start with carrots for the first month on solids, then add one new item every month. The bottom line is: children don't need variety, they eat what they get and that's it. And above all: no spices, garlic or onions please! I must admit we started following this plan too, but I'm happy to say Saami completely tore it to pieces. After one week on carrots he started eating less and less till we started giving him something else. From there on we kept the usual safety rules that one usually observes for children (like no cow milk and bread before they're one, to reduce allergy risks) but introduced all the ingredients we thought would not harm him. And we started finding out what Saami likes: after all we have food preferences, why shouldn't children? Now we know he loves sour foods, especially yogurt and pickled baby cucumbers, eggs, pasta and mushrooms. His ideal dish: scrambled eggs (eggs and yogurt mixed together) with mushrooms, maybe with a side of boiled or mashed potatoes. It disappears in less than five minutes.
That doesn't mean he doesn't eat in a varied way. Luckily for us Saami found our cooking always interesting so he always wants to see what we are doing in those pots and possibly have a taste. I have the feeling this curiosity has widened the choice of foods he eats quite a lot. Since he's old enough now we usually let him taste everything we cook and sometimes that brings to nice discoveries concerning his tastes. After giving him a tiny taste of the green curry I wrote about we discovered he really likes spicy food, although I'm not sure a 1 1/2 old kid should eat that spicy :-). Actually that makes me curious: how do children eat in other parts of the world? Are there rules, prohibited foods and such? This brings me to another question in connection to the opening pic: how are children in your part of the world educated to table manners? And most of all (for the Asians between you) when do you learn to use chopsticks? Saami saw us eating with them and wanted to have a try himself.. as you can see it didn't exactly work, unless you count food-stabbing as a proper way to eat with chopsticks :-)!
BTW if you're wondering why Saami's face is scratched let's just say that hiding into a
fence shrub, especially if you're less than 1 meter high, is not a good idea :-)