Creepy Crawly Cuisine (When Insects are Yum)

A normally laid-back mom gets into a bit of a flap over one of her daughter’s recent taste tests
By Samantha Summerfield

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I have never experienced anything quite like my 10-month-old daughter’s dogmatic approach to tasting everything that her eyes can see and her hands can grasp.
I have found her with all sorts of tasty morsels in her mouth, from the foam letters of her play mat to the edge of the bedroom carpet. Most recently, she has absurdly taken to licking the washing machine door and jumping up and down when it spins!
I don’t worry too much about what she discovers, as I believe it is part of her learning and development. However, I do get down onto the floor with her to make sure she doesn’t find things that are unsafe. I’ll crawl behind her, sit with her and watch how intently she examines things. In doing so, I get the privilege of seeing the world through the eyes of a baby.
It astounds me how she is able to look at something as mundane as a piece of string as if it is the most exciting and intriguing object she has ever seen. You can almost hear her assessing her find: Do I eat it? Do I put it over my head? Do I shake it up and down? Wait, I’ll do what I always do – I’ll eat it.
It’s her incessant taste testing that managed to get the ordinarily laid-back me into a bit of a flap last night…
When I was younger I was fearless. Except for my phobia of moths, that is. Somewhere along the way I seem to have picked up a few more unwarranted fears – creepy crawlies, dust balls and creatures that go crunch when you stand on them can send me into a flat spin, but motherhood is forcing me to face some of these phobias.
On this occasion, the three of us were in the kitchen – Dad and I were preparing dinner – when we realised she was quiet enough to have found something extremely fascinating. I bent down to take the object out of her mouth and, to my absolute horror, discovered the wing of a moth in her one hand, and the rest of the poor creature halfway out of her very pleased little mouth! I fought off the nausea as I extracted the bits of dead insect from her mouth, while she protested about us taking away her grand find.

Even though there are moments that make me want to regurgitate last night’s dinner, I feel privileged to experience her journey of discovery. I look forward to watching her as she learns and grows in the months and years to come. As scary as it is that all this happens so fast, truth be told, I will be grateful for the time when the fishmoths that sometimes creep in the cupboard are no longer automatically placed in her mouth.

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