Welcome to Chickadee Junction

Welcome to Chickadee Junction

I have birdfeeders outside of my office window. My office is in my home, up on a hill, surrounded by trees. The most frequent avian visitors are the chickadees. When the feeders are empty, they come to the window and let me know. They seem to converge here, and draw my attention out...

I wrote a column about life with children for six years. Now I am the grandmother, and I would like to repost those stories. I will also be adding thoughts and reflections, and if inspired - stories from the now.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

When the youngest member of the Swedish Mafia was just under a year old, I developed a theoretical, semi-mathematical explanation for a thrice daily procedure.  It was known as the Splash Quotient.  In order for the Splash Quotient to become part of the routine, the young scientist must have been started on solid foods for sufficient time that many textures, colors and flavors are included in each meal.

I've watched other mother's feeding techniques.  One sister-in-law crouched before her son, spoon constantly loaded.  The second her son paused for a breath, mom reloaded his mouth and had the spoon filled and waiting.  She was equally aghast at my toss-some-stuff-on-the-tray, if he's hungry he'll eat approach.

My kids handled their food, therefore experimentation occurred.  Once belly was full, and since vocabulary was too small to participate in dinner conversation, finger painting began.  A stroke of mashed potatoes, border with peas, maybe a touch of squash.  Well, maybe not.  Shove that out of the way.  Try broccoli.  No, just not getting the right feel.  A good, flat hand slap took care of that.

He noted how the potato clung tenuously, yet gracefully, to Mommy's sweater.  And joy of joys, despite lack of verbal prowess, everyone at the table had been rendered speechless by the show.  No matter what the endeavor, older brothers were always ready to render encouragement.  And they offered the best possible - the giggled, pointed, and laughed.

From that point on, Young Einstein was relentless.  Mashed potatoes rated a 9 out of a possible 10.  The perfect 10 was applesauce.  Unfortunately, Mom kept control of that and occasionally offered a spoonful.  Casseroles rated approximately a 7 or 8.  Anything with macaroni - above a 5.  Rating was based on size of projectiles (smaller = better) and how well they adhered to surrounding surfaces (especially Mom).

Our new resident scientist has foregone the already developed Splash Quotient in favor of her very own Smear Quotient.  Once bored by eating, she intently scoured her hand back and forth through the scraps, checks patterns, projectiles, and how many cats have shown up, then repeats...until Mom attacks with a wet wash cloth.

Mima Notes - For some reason moms always think they know best about feeding.  And it's the one subject mima's bite their tongue about most.  As a nursing mother's counselor for many years, this especially means this mima!

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