And the act of dipping.
I've been making hamburgers for us (I've started eating dinner with her in an effort to get her to eat more adventurously) a lot in the last week, as she showed ever more interest in the idea of eating one. Last night she even tasted, twice, the bun that the hamburger had been resting on!
And both last night and tonight, she chortled with glee as I shook the ketchup bottle. It seems she thought I was doing it to bring a dramatic flair to dinner? Anyway, tonight she started pointing at the ketchup bottle and asking for it in one of her nonsensical syllable questions. I was puzzled but finally figured out she wanted to try it.
So I squeezed a small dollop onto her tray. Her tiny finger grazed it ever so slightly, and then to my amazement, she actually stuck the finger into her mouth (have I mentioned that she's a "cautious" eater? Much more likely to let me feed her something new than to feed it to herself). And then came back for a slightly bolder poke into this strange red stuff.
And then she let me dip a little crumb of hamburger meat into the ketchup and put it into her mouth! She didn't want to touch the hamburger meat, but allowed me to give her several bites this way. Very exciting progress. Especially because lots of folks have recommended dipping as a way to entice a toddler to eat... but until now, dips seemed to freak her out, and made her reject food.
She also was very interested in the avocado that I was slicing to put on my half of the burger, and willingly ate several bites of that, another first for her. She's tasted avocado before, but always gagged on it. This was the first time she asked for second and third bites.
Now, after reading French Children Eat Everything, which I highly recommend -- a fun and interesting read about a Canadian family that moves to France for the year with their two young children and learns to feed them the French way -- hamburgers and dipping food into ketchup are not exactly the promised land.
But this is major progress from where she was.
Now maybe we can move on to homemade chicken nuggets! I still have a batch in the freezer since she never was willing to even taste them before. I am hoping that maybe she will eat them with the ketchup?
Once we master a few more kid foods, I will try again to introduce some slightly more grown up fare. And without ketchup, ideally. Two weeks ago I tried flounder, lovingly dipped in flour and then seared in butter but she wouldn't even taste it. I will keep trying. The suggestion of eating with her (at 5:15) definitely seems to be helping. And although it's adjustment to get used to eating so early, it's not so bad.
It was hard not to act excited during dinner, to see my child willingly eat all these new foods, but I really try to show no emotion, because her eating should not be in any way connected to our relationship, or to earning or rejecting my approval. So I've saved my victory dance for all of you! Hooray!
Now how do we put the carrot back together again?