Long gone are the days of Ella eating any baby food I spooned into her mouth. Now she has a much more sophisticated palate, one that changes daily. Yesterday she loved mac and cheese. Today she has no patience for it and flings it at the wall in disgust. Usually though, she would at least try a few bites. But now…oh my…not only is she getting more picky, if what is on her spoon doesn’t look like a cookie, she won’t even taste it. I beg and plead…but you LIKE this, I KNOW you like it! Of course, she doesn’t listen. Instead, she throws her hands in the air, desperately signing “all done,” hoping I’ll remove the so-called-food in front of her. If I don’t remove it, she tries to force it away by slapping the spoon, all while screeching in horror.
Bad right? Get this though…if I manage to sneak a spoon into her mouth, amid flailing arms and clenched teeth, she immediately calms down, tastes the food, and 90% of the time will proceed to eat it. Sometimes even ALL of it!
So yesterday I was telling my mom that, on top of the other things, she now wants to feed herself. Problem? For me, it is. I would rather sit next to her and at least try to control some of the mess that inevitably ends up on the floor, the chair, and her. My mom laughed and said that she would prefer to just clean up the mess afterwards. The conversation got me thinking. Was there an underlying issue here? Was it really the potential mess that was causing all the drama?
In a way, yes. I don’t want to change Ella’s clothes three times a day, but as I’ve said before, I’m not a neat freak. I do, however, like to be in control of most situations. And so it seems, does Ella. Well…if it prevents me from having to pin my child’s hands down so that I can try and sneak a bite of food in her mouth, why not let her feed herself? (At least some of the time. After all, I fear change even more than lack of control.)
So Ella got to feed herself spaghetti. I have never seen her more happy about food than she was today, slurping up the noodles like a pro. I did strip her down to a diaper so that she wouldn’t stain her clothes. Turned out it was a good move. You can see the results here.
Little by little she seems to be turning me into a more balanced person. Sneaky girl, that one.