Mealtime Independence

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Categories Feeding, ToddlersTags , 5 Comments

As they say, with toddlerhood comes increasing independence.  We’re certainly seeing that at my house, and the latest manifestation is with food and utensils.

My kids have always been somewhat independent eaters.  Once finger foods were introduced around 8 months, I found I had to let them have their way with feeding themselves for a little while before they’d tolerate me spooning some puree into their mouths.  As they got a little older, the self-feeding items (pasta, bananas, cereal, etc) became the primary foods and things requiring a spoon were just supplement.  Even then, I’d often have to get an extra spoon for my son to hold, so that he’d let me use the one with the food on it.

I started handing them little toddler forks and spoons with food on them when they were right around a year old.  They did great.  But then they became reluctant to give the fork back to me for more food.  Somehow the phrase “can I help you?” worked in convincing them that I was not stealing the fork, but actually trying to facilitate more food.

daniel and the spoonWell, those days have passed.  Daniel is *this close* to spearing food on his own, though he goes with the wrong end of the fork about 50% of the time. And he loves trying to dip the spoon into the yogurt or applesauce. But I think he knows how close he is, and no longer wants me to help. At all. Any attempt to take the utensil, even to get more of whatever he loves eating, is taken as a personal affront. In toddler world, of course, the slightest insult can quickly turn into a full-blown tantrum.  So you have to pick your battles, and unless imminent injury is involved, I let him rock those spoons on his own. It is messy and ineffective and slow and frustrating… for me.  Daniel, on the other hand, is more or less having a rocking good time figuring out this new fine motor trick.

It’s entertaining and exciting to watch, for sure.  I hope he gets the hang of it soon.  Then maybe we can go through fewer shirts over the course of a day.

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