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government-shutdown-2013It seems BB has sided with Congress and has picked this week to go on strike. Starting on Monday, he refused his bottle. I’m talking didn’t want it even a little bit. He literally bats it away and if he could talk I’m sure he would say, “get that out of my face.” Thankfully, he is still getting milk from The Mommy and he is eating solids as fast as I can buy them. Who knows how long this bottle strike will last, but bizarrely his approval ratings haven’t dipped. BB also chose this week to protest being placed in his car seat. Now whenever I try to put him in, he goes rigid and has to be sweet talked and distracted to fold at the waist. We have entered negotiations and hopefully the baby shutdown will end soon, but so far the meetings have had a lot more drool then I am used to seeing in the conference room.

Mixed Signals

no_food_drink_no_food_drink-555pxBB’s relationship with eating solids is complicated. When first introduced to any new or previous food (for that matter) he has a ritual. First, he will refuse to open his mouth, even a little bit, allowing no entry forcing apple sauce or blended banana to impact on the surface. However, after a bit and for no reason he will open is maw and if you manage to get the spoon in, will enjoy the food and swallow without incident. Needless to say the whole process takes a lot longer than it should and can be slightly stressful. For those keeping score at home sweet potatoes are his favorite, but he makes a crazy face when anything is too tart. The look of utter surprise on his face when tasting things like pear and mango for the first time is priceless. Thankfully, lately BB has switched teams to the ‘people who like food’ side. He opens his mouth and is excited to gobble down some goo. However, he still is picky when it comes to certain tastes and introducing new foods is still a slog. Of course I am now also remembering how boring it is to feed a baby, but BB doesn’t want me to fall asleep on the job so he will occasionally sneeze a whole bunch of mango-pear mush in my face, shirt and pants.Grizzly Bear Howling with Mouth Open

Give me That!

We are talking yogurt. We are talking applesauce. We are talking about anything that requires a spoon. Why are we talking about it? Because LTD has picked this one area to exercise his extreme right as an American to hold his own spoon. As you can imagine he is very vocal and physical when it comes to those who don’t let him use his own spoon, but he cares less about the mess he makes. If you feed him very quickly sometimes he doesn’t have time to think about and therefore grab the spoon. However, when he sets his mind to feeding himself with the spoon nothing on Earth can stop him. Does he get any in his mouth, you ask? Nope. He is able to scoop up things but then he has a messy habit of turning the spoon upside down before it gets to his gaping maw. I consulted the oracle and have come up with the only known remedy for spoon theft. I give you the decoy spoon. When I’m feeding his yogurt I give him his own spoon and then feed him with another. It’s a win-win for everyone. Everyone except me since I still need to clean up the huge mess.

Oh, My Darling…

As summer officially nears, we LTD has been eating new and exciting seasonal fruits. Long time readers who know of his affection for watermelon can now add Clementines to the list of items that get tossed in the little guy’s food hole. These small orange gems have one great thing going for them, they are seedless. My mom turned me on to clementines in my youth, she called them zipper skins because the peel comes off with ease. In fact, if you had to peel these puppies like an orange I would not have picked up a box. In the beginning I was cutting each slice in half, but after seeing how fast LTD sucked them down I stopped cutting and gave them to him whole. I would put a few on his tray, turn around and they would be gone. I started giving him the entire clementine and with both fists working he would disappear it before you could say choking hazard. My only regret is that once you buy a box you have to eat them relatively quickly as they tend to spoil, but LTD has no problem meeting the clementine deadline.

Product Review – Constructive Eating

Long time Beyond the Car Seat readers know that the best products are either ones I can use with LTD or ones that I want for myself. Constructive Eating has developed something that is so cool that I want them to make an adult version, so I don’t look silly when I use the little guys. In fact, this thing is so cool LTD can’t even really use it yet, but I get it out just to watch the carnage. Constructive Eating was designed to get kids to have fun while feeding themselves, which is code for getting them to eat their vegetables. The set comes with a bulldozer pusher, a forklift fork, and a front loader spoon. You can also get the construction plate to better use the utensils in a proper work zone environment. The great thing about the set is that unlike many construction sites you don’t need to worry about organized crime or kickbacks while your kid is eating. However, you should note that using Constructive Eating will not get your kid in the union and will not count as job experience on the resume.

Sadly, LTD can’t really use the utensil very well and like many construction sites I too need a dumpster for the waste when he is done working. Still, it is fun to watch. In fact right now all he builds is a mess, but I’m hoping, as he gets older he will be able to construct a pea pyramid or mashed potato condo. I’m also hoping he will start us them more so I can stop. The Mommy is getting embarrassed.

No, The Other Thing I’m Pointing At

My buddy John has two boys under the age of four and once I asked him how he was doing. He went down the list of usual things from the fact that he hasn’t slept in three years to the total amount of jumping that goes on in his home. One thing he mentioned has come to pass in our own life with LTD. He said one frustrating development occurred when his boys were to young to talk but old enough to know what they wanted. They manifested their desires through pointing and screaming. Well, call John a modern day Nostradamus because he predicted the future. For some time now LTD has been pointing at things and making his ‘ehnn’ sounds. It’s no big deal when we are outside due to the fact that he points at everything from the sidewalk to the sky and while I did promise him the moon I can’t really hand him the sky. However, when we are at home and he sits in his high chair during supper his pointing can get complicated. The guessing games and picking up objects through trial and error isn’t really fun. Yet, unless he can actually talk and the whole thing is a prank on his part, The Mommy and me will have no choice but to continue to hand him his milk only to have it batted away because it turns out he wanted my house keys.

Interview – Così Restaurants

Welcome to the second conversation in the Beyond the Car Seat interview series. The Mommy and I often enjoy eating out, but with LTD getting increasingly both more mobile and vocal our options are limited. However, the one place we have found that meets all our needs is Cosi. Not only do they have a kid friendly set up, they also offer a free rewards program that includes 10 entrees and the 11th is free. I spoke with Bob Speirs, vice-president of operations, Così Restaurants about Cosi and why it rules.

What would you say is Cosi’s kid friendly philosophy and how did the company arrive at it?
At Così, we’re always working to create an atmosphere unique to the neighborhoods where our restaurants are located and that serves the guests the visit us. For many of our restaurants, this means ensuring that a mom and dad who want to have a great salad or a worldly sandwich also have options for their children that provide choice and taste.

How has the response been to the family atmosphere?
Our guests have overwhelmingly supported the environment that, for many, goes beyond standard options for families with children.

What is the most popular kids item on the menu?
Our guests have many favorites. While there isn’t a clear standout in the kids menu, pizza is always going to be a favorite with the kids and our recent introduction of Così Thin Crust Flatbread Pizza has been warmly received.

Of course, popular with parents are our other options that they can feel good about giving to their kids like fresh fruit, baby carrots and non-fat milk.

Is there anything coming up in the future involving the kids menu or activities?
Like the rest of our menu, we’re always looking for improvements based on the feedback of our guests and our own desire to continually improve the Così experience. We recently held The Così Little Chefs contest that gave our guests and their children an opportunity to submit a new menu item to us. We’re working now to see how the winning entry may work its way to our menu.

What happens when adults, like my wife, want to order off the kids menu?
We’re certainly flattered to think that our kids menu is good enough to satisfy adult tastes.

PS: Am I the only one who orders my son the fruit cup?
The fruit cup is actually a very popular choice, so much so that we’re looking into seasonal fruit options for the summer like seedless watermelon.

What do I Look Like an Elephant?

Year One Week nears its conclusion with perhaps the biggest new development resulting from LTD’s one year check up with the pediatrician. As our visit wound down the subject of food came up and he told us that, “all bets were off” in terms of what the little guy could now eat. Of course the one thing that he stressed was still a big no-no was peanuts. Don’t worry the kid can still play with Snoopy and the gang, what were talking about is the ballpark snack and soul mate of jelly. He added that we could introduce LTD to every other nut out there including filberts, because technically Peanuts aren’t nuts they are legumes.

Armed with our new eating orders life has changed for the family. It no longer is such a big deal to always pack food for the little guy as he can eat off of our plates. Of course that practice is easier said than done in terms of how much still ends up on the floor. We have stopped buying jars of baby food and started using a lot more containers to hold his chow in the fridge. Another interesting practice has cropped up with LTD spitting out foods that he has eaten and like already. For instance, sometimes he will eat a grilled cheese and other times out it goes and on to the floor. The Mommy and I try to analyze the phenomenon, but we have reached no conclusions, as it doesn’t seem to matter if he feeds himself or we put it in his pie hole for him. When it comes to feeding the little guy we have learned to only count on one thing. If I have Dairy Queen it must be shared.

LZ Come and Get it

With Dog Week nearing an end, I would be remiss if I didn’t really re-enforce the fact that our dog, LZ, loves food. Most of the time this craving is a pain in the butt when The Mommy and I want to have a meal at home or a heaven forbid a party. For years the rallying cry has been LZ off. However, with the baby eating food under his own power the dog’s addiction has been our ticket to avoiding the vacuum or broom. Now when the baby drops (or more accurately throws) food on the floor instead of yelling LZ off we get to say LZ come. With the exception of avocados and raisins, the dog is our little baby clean up machine. As I have mentioned before, too bad the pooch can’t also clean the baby’s face after each meal, but I am told the practice is considered “mal vu.”

Say it Don’t Spray It

The mess LTD makes while eating increases in direct proportion to the increases in his food choices. Yogurt makes a particularly nice mess as does cheese. However, everything we have fed him so far pales in comparison to the mess he makes with his mouth. You haven’t truly lived until you’ve seen a baby blow a raspberry with a mouth full of mashed up peas. If this hasn’t happened to you, then you don’t as of yet know the joy of getting mush sprayed onto your face by your own creation. Of course the little guy lets out his requisite laugh after each blown raspberry.

The real challenge for me and The Mommy is that we can’t help but laugh as well which sends a mixed signal to LTD. I can only hope that he is too young to figure out our conflicting messages and I hope that we are cured of the habit when he is old enough to really notice. On another food related matter, things are pretty gross with the green foods like peas and avocado, but they are not in the same league with the dark colored foods. Lets put it this way; I won’t tell you what it looks like when he is done eating prunes.