Little Bean loves to eat.
Of course, we were hoping this would be so. She has been in the kitchen with us since she was a mere mite. Nearly everything we cook we waft under her nose, so she can experience what we are eating through smell. But there are no guarantees in this. She could have easily decided that solid foods were scary and put off the chewing until later.
(And nothing says this avid eating of nearly everything we give her will last.)
She still doesn’t have her first tooth, so the chewing is pretty gummy at the moment. Thick purees still seem best. (However, she did have some roasted pork shoulder, chopped into a paste that she seemed to really love.) Roasted sweet potatoes, crushed-up prunes, fresh avocado — these all make her giggle. Right now, they are enough.
But I was just starting to wonder — what are we going to do without Cheerios?
Right now, we don’t know if Little Bean can eat gluten. You see, there is no accessible test to determine these matters yet, as far I can tell. There is a genetic test, to see if she has the genes that can lead to celiac. But those tests are expensive, and we just can’t afford it. Even if she has the genes, she could go years eating gluten before the celiac triggers, through something mysterious like an injury, or puberty. So we don’t know.
The image of giving her gluten (“Here, honey, have a hamburger with all the fixings.”) feels like handing her the keys to the car when she’s three. I don’t want to do it.
But if she can gluten, I want her to experience all the food in the world she can eat. I want her to eat with relish and gusto, giggling as she reaches for another bite. That’s how she eats now. I want that to continue.
The only plan we have, at the moment, is to wait. No seven-month-old will languish if she doesn’t have barley cereal. Our doctor has told us that he receives an update on celiac and living gluten-free every single day, from the medical journals he reads and the conferences he attends. Maybe, by the time she is a year old, there will be a clearer path.
However, what were we going to do without little o-shaped cereal, just the right size for her fingers to grab on their own off her highchair?
Now, I don’t have to think about it. The good folks at Nature’s Path have made Organic Whole O’s. Organic brown rice flour, organic corn flour, organic granulated sugar cane juice, pomegranate juice concentrate, and sea salt — these are the only ingredients. They’re a heck of a lot healthier than those little chocolate chip cookies cereal. (Remember those? The only time I ate them was at 4:30 in the morning with a friend, because he had no other food in the house, and we were drunk. And I still thought they were awful.) And I actually love the crisp, oh-s0-slightly sweet taste of the Whole O’s.
This is a cereal I’ll be happy to give Little Bean. Just as soon as she has teeth.
(Any day now. Come on, little one. Pop that tooth out, please?)