Drawing, and Walking, and Lamb Meatballs

A few months ago, in an aimless burst of energy that needed to fall on writing, but instead was falling on everything (anything?) else (let’s build a big garden! I need to start making giant floor poufs! I should really start baking our bread again.), I got it in my head to take up drawing.

I complained to Amanda:  I wish I knew how to draw! She countered that everyone knows how to draw, and while she has a point – yes, everyone can draw – not everyone can draw well, and my wild hair was to draw comics, which I admire and have zero talent at.

Nonetheless, I bought a sketch pad and some watercolor pencils that I still haven’t figured out how to use, and for a few weeks, I diligently drew one thing a day. I learned a few things:

  1. My friend Mary used to joke that she only knew how to draw airplanes and brontosauruses. I apparently only know how to draw women who dress like Queen Elizabeth I.
  2. Drawing a baby is really hard. Every time I draw him, he resembles a log with floppy ears (which are supposed to be legs).
  3. The frustration of being a beginner at something is ridiculous.

My attempts to draw a turtle. Over and over and over.
I think, as adults, we usually have a handle on what we excel at. One person is good at sewing, another is really great in the kitchen, and another can change your oil and shrug like it’s no big deal. (It is. You crawled under a car.) But when an adult takes up a new activity and tries to learn, it is so intimidating. How do you even start? Is it a problem if your babies look like floppy-eared logs? Will people even understand that? Maybe I should get a drawing book. (Do me a favor. Google “drawing books.” Now tell me where to start. Did you give up after about eight seconds of looking at allllll the books? Yeah, me too.)

I’ll admit:  at some point, my baby got mobile, and my free time got limited, and so I stopped trying to learn to draw, even though my interest remains. (Someday.) But I’ve been thinking of all this lately because the baby is learning to walk.

Oh Lordy, yes. Learning to walk. He’s gone from cruising to cruising really fast, to darting back and forth across the room with his little push walker. He tries to take steps with no hands. He always falls on his butt.

And then I see it:  the slumped shoulders, the sigh. My baby is under a year old, and he’s already feeling that frustration of wanting to do something, of knowing he can, but he just can’t figure it out. Not yet.

I feel you, buddy. I really do.

Another thing he had a hard time figuring out? How to eat solids. But last week, I decided to make a menu full of foods he could eat. And last Sunday, I set a lamb meatball in front of him, and lo and behold, he gobbled it up. He had figured out the eating, taking bites. He expanded that skill and used it on cantaloupe and chicken and ham. Blueberries that previously fell out of his mouth – confusing as all get out! – suddenly got chewed up and enjoyed. My baby learned to eat!

And he’ll learn to walk! And maybe, with some patience, I’ll learn to draw.

In the meantime, here’s the magical, curse-breaking lamb meatball recipe. It’s excellent in a pita the next day.

Lamb Meatballs (Baby-Led Weaning)

This recipe comes from Jessica’s Baby Led Weaning Blog.


1 lb ground lamb
1/2 cup finely chopped white
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 375 F.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl (per Jessica’s instructions, I used my stand mixer with a paddle attachment). Using a cookie scoop, form into meatballs and place on cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Serve warm with tzatziki sauce.

2 thoughts on “Drawing, and Walking, and Lamb Meatballs

  1. Fun fact: every time stella is on the verge of needing to learn something big (letters, numbers, walking, forward rolls, coloring in lines), i doodle. Because i am way worse than you are at drawing, and the act of doing it reminds me of how truly hard it must be to be a small child trying to learn things we take for granted. like navigating stairs. like holding a fork. like every. little. thing. It’s a good reality check, because as you so aptly stated, we do have a handle on what we excel at, and we generally stay within those comfort zones because we feel better about being good at things than about sucking at them. Which is why you won’t find me heading for the slopes of vermont to snowboard, among other things.

    can you imagine what bravery and tenacity it must take for our little humans to do things like walk? like hold a crayon? like read words for the first time? As i’ve watched stella grow, i’ve also watched her hesitance grow in trying new things, and I always remind her about how you won’t be good at anything unless you practice, but man…the practice part is a killer. you’ll get drawing someday: it’ll be frustrating, but I know you, and I suspect it won’t take long until you’ve got the hang of it. For now, lets feed babies meatballs and chill. 🙂

    1. You are such a sweet mama, Shannon! I was telling Amanda about your comment the other night, and it’s so true – they are faced with so many new things, so many setbacks, all happening at the same time, all while growing teeth! It’s a lot. It’s good to be humbled along with them.

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