January 19, 2004
Baby Experiment 1: Food Choice

You knew it was only a matter of time; several of you worried quite openly about it. Yup, we finally got around to our very first scientific experiment with our own child, a game we call "choose the jar."

Day care is on a federal holiday schedule, my work is on a federal holiday schedule, but Ellen's workplace is not on a federal holiday schedule. Therefore most holidays are known around here as "daddy bonding days."

Now, lately Olivia has turned into a bottomless pit. She eats anything, and often. We've been transitioning her to baby foods to supplement (and ultimately supplant) her bottles.

Now, I'd been thinking. If it were me, I wouldn't necessarily want a whole jar full of the same stuff. And even though it was pretty mushy, it seemed to me having a bottle full of juice to wash it down with wouldn't hurt either. So for lunch today we pulled out a jar of "chicken noodle soup" (how one purees a soup I will leave to the reader's imagination), a jar of "vegetable medley", and a bottle of apple juice.

Now, "vegetable medley" looked an awful lot like "chicken noodle soup" ... vaguely yellow-brown, consistency of tile grout, smelled of, well, smelled of not much at all. As part of the control, I worked up the nerve to actually taste them and, as suspected, "vegetable medley" tasted an awful lot like a pizza box and "chicken noodle soup" tasted a lot like a paper grocery sack. There was a difference, but you had to think about it for a bit to tell.

Interestingly enough, I noticed that sometimes Olivia would eat readily, and sometimes she wouldn't. I sensed a pattern, so I got scientific. She seemed to want "vegetable medley." So I very carefully spooned out "vegetable medley" in front of her and spooned in "chicken noodle soup." I was watched intently, and sure enough the light fixture got real interesting when I tried to spoon the erstwhile soup-cum-tile-adhesive into the child

Spoon out "chicken noodle soup", spoon in "vegetable medley" and, as predicted, gravity altered as my daughter sucked the stuff down with a satisfied grunt.

Again, both things smelled the same, both things looked the same. The only difference I could tell was one came out of jar A, the other from jar B. Olivia had figured out the good stuff came from jar A, the bad stuff from jar B, simply by watching, and chose accordingly.

Not that it mattered too much, because the fuzzy-cat-shaped-vultures had to be beaten off "chicken noodle soup" just to get a spoon in. So, after the experiment had been confirmed, I simply spooned it into them instead. Double-fisted-feeding, as it were.

As an added bonus, occasionally she'd stop eating then "hoot! hoot! hoot! hoot!" and bounce while looking at the bottle of apple juice. Sure enough, a few pulls from the ol' juice bottle and we were ready for some more "vegetable medley."

I'm sure all parents out there are simply nodding their head and saying "dur" to the screen. Consider it a reminder of an era when you were first-time parents.

And be sure to save some "chicken noodle soup" for me. It did, eventually, end up tasting like the real thing. Sort of.

Posted by scott at January 19, 2004 08:23 PM

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Methinks you had fun with this!! I'm proud of you for test-tasting it, too!!

Posted by: battie on January 22, 2004 01:15 PM
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