The following is my inner monologue when attempting to feed my seven-month-old son and what I believe to be - with certainty - his own.
What I'M thinking: OK, you want food. I have food. I want to give it to you. Everybody wins here. This should be easy.
What's HE'S thinking: OH ... SWEET HEAVEN SOCKS. YES. Food! Gimmiefoodgimmiefoodgimmiefood. Foodfoodfoodfoodfood!!!
What I'M thinking: OK, buddy, I'm getting out your food. I need to warm it up first, OK? No big deal. I do this every meal. I take it to the microwave four feet away, heat it up for 22 seconds and feed it to you. You know this. We're cool. Everything is cool.
What's HE'S thinking: Hey, that's my food! Where are you taking it?!? Fooood! Oh NO! OH SWEET PANCAKES NO! Come back Not Mom Slave Feeder Guy! Come back with my fooood!! I'm going to starve! Oh nooooooo!!!!
What I'M thinking: Settle down! I'm only warming it up, OK? Do you want cold mushed pea paste or warm mushed pea paste? I'm fairly certain the latter is better, even though to test the temperature I squeeze my lips tight ensuring I taste nothing. I'm not taunting you with it. What would be the point of that? It's coming right back in 22 seconds. While I enjoy some of your noises, your laboring pterodactyl hunger screech is not one of them. I cannot make the microwave go any faster. Here, here it's done, OK? Jeez, spaz.
What's HE'S thinking: FOOOD! FOOODS!! GIVEIT! GIVEIT!! Oh, there it is. Foods. I love foods. Happy, happy foods in my mouth.
What I'M thinking: Hey hey hey ... focus, buddy. Over here. I'm not going to chase your mouth all over. *sigh* OK, yes I am. Just eat it. ... Or ... just head butt the spoon. That works too, I guess. I had no idea that was even an option. Congratulations on getting peas on your forehead. I'd clean it off right away but A) you'd freak out because I'd be doing something that's NOT feeding you another bite and B) it satisfies me that you kind of look ridiculous. It kind of serves you right.
What's HE'S thinking: I've gotten thee bites, time to get disinterested and distracted by everything because ... hey! Is that a picture of a thing? Let me see if I can reach the cabinet over here. No? Maybe the big white box thing with the cold food. I'll reach that for sure. No? That's unusual; I could've sworn I could do that. Hi-Yaa! Take that food! Trying to sneak up on me will result in ... MY HEAD! What's that behind me?! Oh good, it's nothing. OR IS IT!?! LOOK AGAIN! I could sure go for another bite of food. WHY ISN'T ANYONE FEEDING ME?! Not Mom Guy, you're the worst.
What I'M thinking: Oh, so now you want to knock the spoon out of my hand like some tiny ninja. This doesn't help the situation. It only makes your fingers and tray messy. Congratulations.
What's HE'S thinking: Hi-YAA! Take that spoon! I will slap anything that comes near me. Oh look! Foods on my fingers. Numnumnum. Food on my plate! Let me smear my hands in that for a few minutes. Ohhh yeahhhh ... that's it. This is so awesome.
What I'M thinking: Yes, go ahead and take a bite and then immediately turn away, open your mouth and smear it all on the back of your chair. No, that makes a lot of sense. Why haven't I thought of that? Oh that's right, because I don't want my chair to smell like GARBAGE.
What's HE'S thinking: Did you hear that?! I could've sworn I heard something behind me. No? It was surprising to me. Look at that, food is on my chair now. I have a magic chair! I'm going to lick you, magic chair.
What I'M thinking: There. We're done. That only took an hour and we've somehow managed to paint the walls, your chair, the table, your sister, etc. a delightful splotchy green. Here, let me wipe off your face, which is now 85 percent pured whatever. No, don't turn away. No ... stop. Don't fight me. I'm trying to CLEAN you. What is WRONG with you? I'm not waterboarding you. It's a wet wash cloth. With WARM water. Will you ... just ... stop ... wiggling? Fine, live your life looking like a vegetable zombie. See how many girls you can get that way. Trust me, fella, women don't dig the Exorcist look. Will you just ... come on ... stop ... arrrrrgahhaaaa!
What HE'S thinking: Oh no. Here it comes: the damp, room-temperature torture device. Why can't he understand I NEED this food that I purposefully smeared all over my head for a later face snack? I'll just slap my hand against my face, get angry at my hands for slapping me so hard and suck my food-smeared fingers. OH NOOOO ... IT'S GETTING CLOSER! Arms! Quick! Flail about aggressively and randomly! Vocal chords! Make loudest, ugliest sound possible! OHMYGOD! THIS IS THE WORST THING OF ALL THE THINGS! Get away! Getawaygetawaygetaway!
Despite the impromptu food fight, I'll probably miss it. In 30 years it'll be fun to re-enact for him when meeting his significant other for the first time. Not that I hold grudges.
Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative & marketing writer for Briscoe14 Communications (www.briscoe14.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via message written onto his wall in potatoes. Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny or he'll sneeze food on your wrists and not even feel bad about it.