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:
- 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.
- Drawing a baby is really hard. Every time I draw him, he resembles a log with floppy ears (which are supposed to be legs).
- The frustration of being a beginner at something is ridiculous.
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.
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.