Last night, it occurred to me that I had inadvertently neglected to write down something important: that June’s head smells like strawberry jam. I’ve thought about it for a long time, trying to make sure that was it, and now I’m certain: not strawberries, but strawberry jam. She smells like something I would like to eat on buttered toast. Now there’s a menu idea for Delancey.
Brandon bought himself a record player as an early Father’s Day present, and he’s been buying old records left and right. The other day he came home with Cat Stevens’s Tea for the Tillerman. The next morning, before he woke up, June and I were hanging out, like we do every morning, and I turned on the record player. June sat on my lap and played with the zipper on my sweatshirt while I drank my coffee, and we listened to Cat Stevens. And as my friend Andrea so eloquently put it, I had this feeling that these mornings of ours, and these days, they’re the good old days. I was telling my friend Ben about it later that evening, when he asked how my day had been, and he said that it sounded “death defyingly sweet.” I couldn’t have said it better.
A few of you have asked what June is eating these days, and the answer is: mostly breast milk. She will be nine months old on Sunday, old enough to be eating solids, but she’s only vaguely interested. I’m kind of glad, actually. I’m happy to take it slow. We’ve been giving her tastes of whatever we’re eating, so long as it seems manageable for her tiny mouth, and letting her take the lead. (In these photos, she was playing with a hunk of Matt Dillon’s wonderful sourdough bread.) I’ve read many different takes on the subject of feeding young children, and so far, what seems to work best for our family is to not worry too much about it. I hope we can sustain that feeling. We’ll try to make food that is reasonably good for us, and to create moments to sit down and eat that food as a family, and I trust that June’s body will know what it needs and when it needs it. Maybe I’m naive. I mean, of course I’m naive. But mostly, I hope that June will grow up thinking of food as something fun, and not as a battleground. Because as everyone knows, in any battle, the loser’s head gets eaten on buttered toast. (Maybe I’ve been watching too much Game of Thrones?)
A few nights ago, June went down at seven, like she usually does. I poured myself a glass of wine and started going through some boxes of hand-me-downs that we’d picked up from friends that afternoon. A little before eight, she woke up crying. I let her go for a bit, hoping she’d settle back to sleep, but when she didn’t, I went into her room. I reached down in the dark and picked her up, and she burrowed her face into my shoulder and rubbed her eyes and grunted. I sat down in the rocker and held her while she continued to do her best impression of a mole in sunlight, and after a few minutes, I set her back down in the crib. She rolled onto her side and popped her thumb into her mouth, and I leaned over the railing and gave her a “back tickle,” the way my mother and my aunt Tina and my grandmother used to do for me, and as I looked at her in the faint light that trickled in under the blinds, I felt almost unbearably glad, like I might split right open.
Of course, there are less glad moments, like that sunny afternoon when I was feeling all lovey and we were about to take a walk, and I popped open the stroller and then turned to get June out of the car, only to find that, when June and I turned back to face said stroller, it was gone, having rolled down the driveway, careened around the corner, and overturned into the drainage ditch alongside the road. PARENT OF THE DECADE! You can rest assured that I will never, ever, ever again forget to set the brake on a stroller – or a car, or a toy car, or anything that moves. Also, feeling lovey is dangerous.
June Pettit: Living Dangerously since September of 2012!
I’m trying to get back into the swing of cooking more than just eggs and roasted vegetables and banana bread, and hopefully I’ll soon have something to report about that. But in the meantime, I’ll be Austin this weekend, speaking on a panel about storytelling at the BlogHer Food Conference. I can’t wait! See you out there.