Sometimes I do yearn for the days when I could control every morsel that entered my child's mouth. In the beginning and for many moons after, this was quite simple, he needed me for feeding. I was fortunate enough to be there. He wouldn't take bottles and he didn't have to. Although there was the one half-hearted attempt made at Lake George when he was about three months old. Grandma L. tried to give him one and he screamed as if he had been punished. I couldn't go through with the plan.
Of course this no bottle policy meant that he didn't have a babysitter til he was nearly two years old. Some might call this insane, but I know it reassured me to know that he was safe and sound with me, eating at his leisure. There came a day though when I realized it was time to get him accustomed to someone else.
I was incredibly fortunate to find B., a sweet young woman who had just moved into our old building on Ninth Street. She did, as her reference stated, "Have a gift with children." As soon as Izzy met her, he was dizzy with giggles. I decided she was the "one." I introduced them gradually but even so, on the day I finally had to leave Izzy, he was distraught. She assuaged my fears and assured me that in ten minutes, the tears would be gone. And lo and behold, they were! So she continued to sit for us on a rather infrequent basis and each time Izzy became more comfortable with her. She truly was a gem - bringing along Mercer Mayer stories to enchant him and taking him on little excursions to her apartment.
What I didn't count on, however, was how her approach to food and eating differed so from my own. I discovered this pretty quickly after having prepared dinner for the two of them. The first time I left a simple pasta with peas, corn and shallots. The next morning Izzy said, "The babysitter gave me her peas. She wouldn't eat them."
This didn't seem right. The child was eating the veggies and the adult wasn't.. I inquired and she admitted to not liking peas.
Then there was the "pepitas" incident. In the morning Izzy said, "I asked B. to give me some pepitas for snack." She didn't know what they were.
I smiled over these tales with faint amusement, figuring her culinary influence was small. But the day Izzy told me that B. gave him a cookie, was the day I became concerned. Where did she find said cookie? Izzy told me she found them in the closet. It turned out that she had plunged into the depths of my pantry, into the baking section and unearthed a box of dusty graham crackers, intended for a cheesecake crust. I guess there are worse things that could happen but I was still perturbed. My boy was not supposed to eat cookies, at least not unless I made them. Okay, you may call it a food neuroses but why eat a boxed cookie if you can have better? I think I did fairly well in concealing my thoughts on these matters from her but I did hide the cookies from then on. She continued to sit for us because I knew that despite being culinarily challenged, she was a loving, wonderful babysitter.
Then the sad day came when she had to leave us, as she was getting married and moving to another state. It was time to find a replacement.