Liam is working his way up the baby-food-chain . . . from rice cereal to oatmeal to wheat to veggies. He is a human version of a baby velociraptor — this kid will eat anything that doesn’t move faster than he does. Most babies are relatively slow to take to “solid” food (if oatmeal and pureed carrots can be counted as solid) but not Liam. He doesn’t spit food out, he doesn’t make faces — it goes in, he swallows it and he looks for the next bite, even the first time he tries something. We have to cut him off, at some point, so he doesn’t make himself sick, and he cries when we put the food away. (Don’t worry, he’s still nursing — he won’t starve.) He has yet to meet a food he didn’t like.
The difficulty is that baby food is hard to find here. At least, the kinds of baby food I’m looking for. A variety of formulas are readily available, and rice cereal and oatmeal were easy to find, too (once I learned the word for oatmeal: “haferflocken”, which is a great word). Beyond that, the next step for Austrian babies seems to be “peas and lentils with ham”. The only “single ingredient” pureed baby food I can find here is carrots — everything else is some kind of combo. (I also realized that I’m pretty unlikely to find pureed sweet potatoes here — they’re more of an American continent thing.)
I don’t know if mothers here are more industrious than I am: maybe they’re all making their own baby food (which is possible). Maybe they’re less hung up on uber-testing their kids for allergies to every single possible thing, so they just puree a bunch of stuff together (which is likely). Or maybe I’m shopping in the wrong stores (also possible — I’m looking in the grocery stores and the drug stores, but there may be something else out there). It’s hard to tell, and it can be frustrating. It’s not just that I’m not able to find what I’m looking for, but that I don’t know if what I’m looking for exists, and I don’t know where I’d look for it if it did. I’m not sure which store names to look for, and when I look for the stores online, I’m searching Austrian websites in German. This is not a trivial process.
Today, I packed the kids up and headed out to look at a store which seemed promising. Upon arriving at our destination, I couldn’t find the store (let alone the baby food). I tried a grocery store that I happened upon, but with no luck (they had the same “peas and lentils with ham” that our local store has). When I got home and re-checked the directions, I realized that the address of the store was correct, but the placement on the map was wrong. I was familiar with the area, so I walked to the place I saw depicted on the map, and couldn’t find it (no wonder I couldn’t find the right street, since I was in the wrong neighborhood).
This doesn’t go in the category of major frustration, just mild curiosity turned minor obsession. It is yet another of the things that I took for granted at home and am struggling with here (there are so many). Liam will be fine and will be introduced to all manner of foods (and he’ll probably start catching his own meals next week). But here I am, thinking wistfully of the baby food aisle at Safeway — never thought that would happen.