Saturday, September 15, 2012

The 100th Post: Chicken Pot Pie

If you can believe it, this is my 100th post. I'm not sure that I can. Certainly, when I started this adventure, it was my dearest hope that I would make it this far (and beyond), but I had no notion of what to actually expect, in the end. Prior to this project, I've never even been able to keep a diary. As much as I enjoy writing, I've historically lacked the motivation and focus to keep it up for any amount of time. Beyond that, I've had all sorts of fears and mental blocks to overcome in order to get started; to maintain, and sometimes I wonder if I have made it to this point only by coasting on the strength of my own momentum.

However, I take great pride in what I have accomplished thus far, whatever the reason. I wanted this post to be special, because it is a mile-marker for me, and thankfully, sweet Abby has provided me with something fantastic to write about for the occasion.

It involves a major milestone for her, as well, and it all starts with chicken pot pie.


Abby has been sitting down to dinner with Tom and me for months now, and eating almost exactly what we eat. Of course, finding ways to make what we are eating accessible for her is at times a bit of a challenge. Though I try most nights to provide her with utensils, to get her used to the idea and to give her a chance to try them out, they are usually used improperly for a short time and then tossed aside in favor of her fingers. Therefore, if we make beans, we mix them generously with rice, so that she has a mixture sticky enough and dry enough to eat with her hands. If we make soup, we give her a finger food option instead, and offer her spoonfuls out of our own bowls. We've all but stopped giving her yogurt at lunch, because for a long while she did not want it fed to her, and made a huge mess of it when she tried to do it herself. And, as much as she loves her Joe's O's in milk (she gets many tastes from my bowl), we feed her the cereal dry because I can't even imagine the mess that would ensue if she was given a bowl of cereal in milk to do with as she pleased.

So, last night, when Tom took advantage of the cooler weather we've been experiencing lately to make chicken pot pie, I faced a bit of a dilemma. It contains so many things that Abby loves: carrots, peas, chicken, pastry crust; I did not want to deny it to her by offering an alternate finger-food option.  However, neither Tom nor I wanted to spend our entire dinner trying to eat and feed her at the same time. 

Not having planned ahead, I had no rice to mix in so that Abby could pick up chunks with her hands.  I had no choice but to give Abby a chance and see what would happen. I brought her some in her special bowl, with a special spoon, and explained to her that she would need the spoon to eat it. 

Amazingly, she rose to the challenge.

At first, she did what she always does: she got some food on the spoon, then turned it upside-down in an attempt to get it to her mouth. Since the gravy was thick and sticky, she didn't lose every bit off of each spoonful, but she wasn't retaining a whole lot on the spoon, either.

But then, something happened. I don't know if something just "clicked" for Abby, or if the food was just so good that she had to brainstorm how to get more into her mouth at once, but she suddenly started attempting to get the spoon all the way to her mouth, right-side-up.

Not surprisingly, she had some difficulty initially, which resulted in a bit of accidental food-flinging and mess.

However, she soldiered on.

And, by the end of dinner, she had developed her own special technique, which I captured her demonstrating at lunchtime today.

First, she scoops the food into the spoon with her right hand.

Then, still gripping with her right, she grabs onto the spoon handle with her left hand, and uses it both to steady her hold, and to more accurately aim the food at her mouth.

The result? The food makes it in, up-side right, with minimal spillage. Mmm mmm good!

We brought her with us (Michael, too) to our first dinner at the home of our new neighbors this evening. They were astounded at her facility with a spoon (a big-people spoon, no less), given her tender age. She did an amazing job, and I was beaming with pride.

All because of  Daddy's chicken pot pie.

And that, my friends, is a tale worthy of my 100th post. May there be (at least) 100 more.