This weekend, in my absence (see: Napa bachelorette party), my child apparently wasn't hungry. This is not typical. So I grilled my husband: What did you feed him? How hard did you try? Did you try different things? Did you dance and sing, because sometimes he likes dinner and a show.
OK, so the last thing is true but wasn't an actual out-loud suggestion. But I was worried. And then I read about the new book French Kids Eat Everything and thought "how very American of me." Check it out: in the latest French vs. American parenting book apparently the key to happy petite foodies is to give them what you eat, when you eat, and be done with it. And use linens and candles. Hmmm....
Truly, the hardest francophone food rule for me is making dinner "special." I used to do that, and believe very much in beautiful tables and careful food, but typically now we all eat in the kitchen - me, propped in front of Muffin's high chair and Sweetie perched at our breakfast bar. We chat and eat, but it's definitely not formal and clearly there are no table cloths. Otherwise, in general I do give Muffin exactly what we eat and usually he loves it. Hummus, Mexican food, smoothies, soy sausage - fab. But sometimes he hates it (salmon), and that is when I pull out packaged baby food and microwave random things in the hopes something will spark his pallet. And maybe this is wrong. Or this could be like all the sleep advise out there and really whatever you're up for and have the time and patience for that works for you and your baby is A-OK in food land.
I don't really know just yet, but I'm willing to give these suggestions a try. I am reminded of my time in France as a student when I saw the French couples with their babies everywhere. For the first time in my me-obsessed life thought "you can be sexy and a parent?!" Skinny, beautiful women in fab bateau tops with hot men, making out over a baby carriage put the American images I had of parenting to shame. No ugly Old Navy capri pants and pastel t-shirts here. No haggard-looking, chubby parents shoving Cheerios into their children's screaming mouths. Instead it all looked picture perfect. Easy. Hot even. And this slew of "French is better" parenting books seem to suggest my observations weren't wrong.
So maybe it's worth a try?