The Memory of Cleanliness, Advice for Feeding An Infant


Bump has been eating solid food for a few months now, and I’ve reacclimatized myself with this situation enough to give some advice on what to expect. If you’re a parent of a new eater or a toddler, this post is for you. It’s also for anyone else who might like to laugh at the insanity which has become my life. Here’s my three best pieces of advice.

Bibs are semi-useful at best

I’ve long suspected that bibs were of dubious value for keeping food off a baby’s clothes, Bump has confirmed my suspicions. The ratio between Bib coverage and the amount of food kept off clothes is nowhere near one to one. Bibs will catch food which drips off a spoon or out of a baby’s mouth, which is nice. But the person who invented the bib, and then passed on this invention as an absolute necessity for feeding, forgot that babies love to grab things. And, as it so happens, a bib is a thing that is right there to be grabbed. When a big glop of food falls on the bib for a brief moment I’m relieved that Bump is wearing a bib. Then Bump grabs his bib and proceeds to spread the captured glop across his upper body.

Bibs are kind of like taking your shoes off at airport security. We know it’s a dumb thing to have to do and that it has little or no real value, but we’re so accustomed to it that it would feel weird to keep our shoes on as we pass through a checkpoint. I won’t feed Bump without a bib, and I know it won’t do much good. It’s just the way it is.

A third arm is a plus

Babies are cute. They are also devious.

Bump has a trick where he’ll throw his arms up and open his mouth like he’s about to take a bite, but when you move the spoon within striking distance he’ll demonstrate his mastery of the speed force and either grab the spoon or fling it out of my hand. He thinks this is great fun 1.

This morning Bump played his trick 2 as I was feeding him some yogurt. When he flicked his spoon over on to the counter I set the yogurt container on his tray, blocked by my arm, and began to wipe up the mess. He grinned at me and feinted for the container with one hand, when I went to block him he reached out with his closer hand and grabbed the yogurt – which made even more of a mess 3.

A third arm would have allowed me to block both hands and clean up the splattered yogurt off the counter. Yes, I could have also not put the yogurt on the try, but it was blocked.

Bump is a creative problem solver.

Babies’ have stretchy powers

I’ve known that babies have stretchy powers for years, ever since my daughter spun 180 degrees while standing in my lap, keeping her feet firmly in place, and then reaching out and grabbing a full glass of coke that should have been out her grasping radius 4.

Bump confirmed his stretchy powers this morning when he pulled a Mister Fantastic on me 5. In the scenario I shared above, after I pinned Bump’s arms on his tray and began to wipe off the smeared yogurt from his hands and face, he somehow managed to reach his head and proceed to get yogurt in his hair. He did this even though his arm was still pinned to the tray and he never leaned his head down. I am going to have to make this kid’s meal times a YouTube sensation.

  1. Also, he may have super powers, so that’s a plus. 
  2. I fall for it every time
  3. He was quite pleased. 
  4. It was then dumped on my lap, in the middle of January. In Massachusetts. That ride home sucked
  5. D.C. and Marvel references in one post! I’m a Marvel fan myself, but I’ve always considered Quicksilver to be a pompous jerk. 


  1. LMAO! This takes me back. I knew the boys were finally crawling when the coffee I set on one side of the room is suddenly hunted down and knocked over by the boy who “doesn’t crawl.” Naughty Bash. And Biff STILL gets pizza sauce in places that shouldn’t be physically possible. 🙂

    1. wezlo says:

      Babies eating is a remarkable bit of quantum physics.

    2. It really is. I also recall the closed fist of food in the mouth, and the salivating around the fist in order to somehow absorb aforementioned food, but it all just dribbles out in their spit instead.

    3. wezlo says:

      *shudder* Yup.

    4. wezlo says:

      The thing is, I HATE being sticky. Watching babies eat is like psychological torture.

    5. LOL! Just wait until the toddler-dom!

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