At almost six months of age, it was time for the baby’s first food! It was some oatmeal, and he did pretty well with it, too — maybe only half ended up on his bib! There were smiles, even. Here’s the video of him eating that oatmeal:
There were only two of us in the house who weren’t so into the oatmeal… me and the dog.
Dad and Baby’s First Food
Here’s a bit of a confession: before he came along, I knew that I loved toddlers, and I figured: I can muddle my way through a baby in order to get that toddler and that child. Then I got a baby, and I discovered that babies are the greatest thing ever. They’re cuddly, they smell great, they’re adorable… look at me, I sound like a Lifetime movie here. But the truth is: I love babies.
Apparently I’m a baby person, because my reaction to my baby son eating his first food was:
- Aww, he’s eating oatmeal, look how good he’s doing!
- Oh God, soon he’s going to be walking and buying things on credit and playing video games and where has my baby gone? My sweet, cuddly baby’s about to leave forever!
Yeah, I’m a nostalgic sap. Of course, give me a spoon to feed the boy, and I’m all into it. Let me watch his smiles as he eats, and I’m all into it. Baby’s first food is a major milestone and I’m glad he hit it — but oh, I love those cuddly, quiet, immobile-baby moments!
The Dog, Baby’s First Food, and Kaizen
The dog is a little more thoughtful about the situation. One of our two pups has been defensive of the boy since he was born, and the glare from this little dog’s eyes as we fed the baby his first food was incredible. I’m pretty sure that the dog understands the Kaizen concept of muri, and is worried that we’re asking too much of the little baby, feeding him oatmeal and all.
I’d never tell a parent to rush or to slow down with any developmental project — feeding, sure, like us, but also potty-training, or anything like that — but I do know that many parents put a lot of pressure on themselves and on their babies to keep up and get ahead. Muri asks: what is the honest, true capability of the person?1 Kaizen then suggests you ask no more of that person than their capability.2 Perhaps one can call this the Kaizen corrorlary to the brilliant CTFD method of parenting.
I’m not sad that we waited until after the tongue-thrust reflex went away to feed the baby — he did an awesome job at swallowing his food. The dog doesn’t need to worry, there’s no muri here; sure, the baby loves his bottle, but he loves his oatmeal now, too!
- Kaizen is first a manufacturing philosophy, sure, but, even when applied to manufacturing, it thought about the individual capabilities of the operator from the beginning. It’s fair to use muri in the context of overburdening an individual. ↩
- This doesn’t mean not pushing them; you push someone to reach their potential. This does mean not pushing someone to ridiculous extremes and setting them up for failure. ↩