If you’ve ever fed a baby, you know there really is no neat and tidy way to do it. They paint their hair with sweet potatoes, smear peas under their chin, wipe pears up and down their arms and rub pureed prunes into their eyes. Then they crust some partially nommed rice crackers and Cheerios on top of everything and smile at you as if to say, “Look what I did Mom! Aren’t you proud? I am!”
You obviously can’t toss them in a tub after every meal (or if you can, you have way too much free time. Come do my laundry.) so you grab a washcloth and do your best to wipe away the artistic masterpiece your offspring just painted on her own body. And God help you when you do. Good Lord, Eleanor, it’s just a washcloth! I tell you, this child screams like she is being tortured in the most awful way when she even sees that washcloth getting close to her face. Trying to get her clean enough that she at least isn’t going to smear food all over the next person to hold her requires skills a Ninja would envy: holding the slippery, messy, flailing hands out of the way with one hand, wiping a screaming, fast moving, constantly turning away face that is determined to avoid you with the other hand, removing the high chair tray full of leftover food that keeps getting reapplied to her hands and face with another hand, trying to keep her clothes (and yours) from becoming completely covered with food with yet another hand…wait a minute, where did those third and fourth hands come from?
All this while being serenaded by a shrill, high-pitched, very indignant and ticked off SCREEEEEEEECH!!!! I actually can’t help but laugh at poor Eleanor because it’s just so ridiculous. She’s the easiest-going, roll-with-the-punches (sometimes literally, from big sister) happy baby about just about everything else. Try to wash that face though and man, she lets you have it. That is, until the “torture” is over and you scoop her up in your arms and she’s all smiles and coos again. At least she doesn’t hold a grudge.