June 23, 2008

dionysian eating at 13 months

This photo was taken at the end of May. We went to another baby boy's first birthday party and the very cool parents (in fact, they are the parents of Charlie, see below) made a special, babies only cake. What I love about this picture is that Bertram appears to be in a kind of birthday cake coma. You can tell that he felt the cake. He ate the cake. Sheez, he practically makes wearing cake a fashion statement.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what happens in the dionysian pleasure dome of the boddler. In this dome, eating involves squishing food between your fingers, smearing it on your clothes, putting it in your ear, smushing it into your hair, dropping it on the floor, shoving bits of food from one plate compartment to another, and oh yes, occasionally tasting it.

Just this past Saturday, we went to de Mole. Of all the things to order from a Mexican restaurant I ordered a hamburger with fries. Of course, de Mole kicked it up a notch with thick slices of bacon and just a few thin hints of red onion on a perfectly toasted english muffin. Have I mentioned how much I love de Mole? Anything they make is fantastic. Don't ignore that seemingly out-of-place burger on the menu.

Sooooo...for the first time ever, Bertram tried french fries and ketchup--together. Who needs language to convey the blissful combination of vinegary, sweet tomato and mushy salted goodness? He had such a smile on his face. He would take three or four shoestring fries at a time and dunk them in the little ketchup cup looking oh-so-pleased. (I would add that this was also his first successful food dipping experience.) What also struck me was the absolute pleasure with which he eats. In true dionysian boddler fashion, he sucked the ketchup off his fries, and shoved his ketchup smothered hands in his mouth, being sure to give his chin an ample coating of ketchup goo. He demanded more fries with pointing and grunts. His use of the polite ASL signs went out the window.

This kid truly enjoys eating. Looking at him, I think about how much we take for granite when we eat. I can only imagine what it must be like to experience a strawberry for the first time. And these days, you would find me eating a strawberry while hovering over the kitchen counter in the midst of preparing the next day's lunches. I've become a food multi-tasker, barely acknowledging the taste of a food while Bertram is the poster boy for all-out sensory enjoyment.

I know I need to give Bertram a few boundaries with eating--eg, take him away from the table when he starts playing with the food versus exploring and eating it. But the joy and gusto with which he eats is infectious. He's a boddler. I suppose he can get away with his dionysian ways for a few months more.

Coda 6/26: I noticed that our good friends Josh and Jess posted similar praise for the dionysian eating habits of their boddler, Charlie. Check him out savoring a nectarine--


April said...

"how we take things for granite"--you slay me! was that intentional? in spite of the sober warnings from many intrepid 'rents, I find myself teetering at the precipice of the plunge into motherhood. Thank you for this insight into all things Bertram the Boddler.

Salt Chunk Mary said...

ah April, no. that was just bad spelling.

mayhaps it is better to be teetering on the edge than taking the full plunge!