It’s surprising how much of our early life is spent on teeth: growing them, brushing them, losing them, growing new ones, and so on.
I have a distinct memory of my older brother, also named Jeff, convincing me to tie a loose tooth to a door handle, so he could slam the door shut and take my tooth with it. Given how much he liked to push me around at that age I was skeptical of his motives, but the promise of an early visit from the tooth fairy was just too enticing to resist. I must have been in desperate need of another cabbage patch doll.
Before Keira is ready to start selling off her teeth to mythical beings, she has to finish getting them first. Yep that’s right, we’ve entered the dreaded teething phase. For many, the word alone conjures up images of rosy cheeks, drool, fever, diaper rash, and sleepless nights, to name a few. For the most part though, Keira has been very kind to us as she cut her first two teeth. Sure she’s had the occasional fuss and wanted some extra cuddles, but she has slept through the night more often than not and hasn’t shown any signs of significant discomfort or distress. Sounds pretty good, right? Well, sort of.
She has become a biter.
Yes, our little angel, who I am still breastfeeding twice a day, has started biting me. And she finds it hilarious. Not just a little funny, but roll on the floor, laugh until your stomach aches, hysterical. I still don’t quite know what the right response should have been the first time it happened, but what I did was clearly not it.
It was about 6:30 in the morning and I was half asleep while feeding her. She was just finishing up, when all of a sudden she chomped down. I yelped and said in what I thought was a stern voice “Keira! NO biting.” That’s when she burst out laughing. Unfortunately, I then did what any seasoned parent knows never to do in such a situation: I laughed back. The worst, WORST, thing I could have done. And that is how I created The Monster.
She is getting better, so long as I continue to practice my stern voice and suppress the urge to giggle in response to her simply adorable laughter. But in addition to relying more and more on the bottle, we are taking these ‘love bites‘ as a hint that Keira is ready for some real food to sink her teeth into.
As her first real meal, I put together a batch of Jillian’s Sweet Potato Puff. We already knew Keira was a fan of sweet potatoes, so it was a pretty safe way to start to introduce a little more flavour and a few more sophisticated ingredients such as eggs and oat flour. Preparation was straightforward, and I was able to put it together quickly while Keira entertained herself on the floor in the kitchen (who knew pushing yourself around on your tummy could be so exciting?). I used a very mild, dried chili as flavour, which went over just fine – the particular chillies I used (Easy on the Kashmiri Chillies, from Waitrose) are more sweet than spicy, so I would even consider adding a second one next time for more flavour.
My puff didn’t come out quite as pretty as Jillian’s, but it tasted nice and Keira ate it up like it was going out of style. We also gave her some steamed beans and broccoli to nibble on as finger foods. The beans didn’t go over so well, as she wasn’t really able to move the stringy bits to the back of her mouth so she could swallow them – so instead they ended up stored in her cheeks, and I had to fish them out with my fingers before bath time.
Jeff and I had our puff alongside Jamie Oliver’s stuffed Cypriot chicken and a green salad, which I think was a good combination (the stuffed chicken recipe was from Jamie’s new 30 Minute Meals cookbook, a favourite in our household). We also refrigerated the leftover puff for a couple of days, and it tasted just as good when reheated.
Next on the agenda for Keira to nibble on with her new teeth is a gluten-free pancake, which will add some diversity to our breakfast meals – stay tuned!