When he was somewhere around 24 hours old, Benjamin got mad at me for the very first time. He would see my bare nipple, latch on with a ferocity that was clearly a harbinger of Hoover moments to come, nurse for a few minutes, and then start screaming at me. Here he was, working his little tail feathers off, and all he was getting was a trickle of colostrum. He wanted milk, dammit, and he was pissed.
When he was one week old, I put Benjamin on the floor for some tummy time. Benjamin did not like tummy time. He did not like the floor being so inconveniently close to his face. He pushed the floor away as hard as he could. He rolled onto his back. Ahhh. Much better.
When he was four months old, we started him on solids. (Yes, I know your pediatrician told you not to start solids till your child was six months old, but mine told me that the American Academy of Pediatrics said 4-6 months, and both our boys started waking up in the night hungry again at 4 months. So shut up.) While the solid foods had helped Zachary resume sleeping through the night at four months, they did little to help his brother, who kept waking up hungry. We went to the health visitor, which is NHS’s substitute for a pediatrician doing developmental checkups. “Try protein,” she said. So, at five months old, we found that the only thing that got the child through the night was pureed chicken. He started eating it every night, and we all were happy again.
He did not get teeth until eleven months old. That, however, did not stop him from consuming broccoli, cheese, and beef.
When he was just over a year old, he began moving heavy skillets around the house. A few months later, we would catch him wheeling out our suitcases from the closets. His older brother sometimes couldn’t manage the heavy objects, but Benjamin was only too happy to help.
When he was eighteen months old, I watched my toddler veraciously consume chicken tikka masala. And it started to dawn on me: this kid would eat anything. I was raising a pterodactyl.
At two years old, “want try that” is one of his favorite phrases. While his brother turns up his nose at all unfamiliar foods, Benjamin sees someone eating something and instantly assumes we are holding out the goods on him. If someone else is eating it, it must be good.
To be sure, he has some peculiarities. He once ate the carrots on his plate before the pizza. His preferred breakfast is a large plate of my homemade macaroni and cheese. Often, he likes to have the first of his morning snacks right after breakfast. And he has been known to start throwing things in a restaurant with slow service, sobbing “My hungry!”
But all that food is going somewhere, because he is built like an ox. We have sometimes considered putting him to work rearranging the furniture, but we’re concerned he may try to eat it.
But I am afraid. I am very afraid, and not only because yesterday he headbutted me twice, leaving me with a fat lip and a very sore nose. I am afraid because, someday, he will be a teenager.