Petits Pois and Other Experiments in Self-Feeding

Self-feeding. At times, it's great, and at other times, it drives me completely berserk. I mostly feed Kent with a spoon that goes straight from the bowl to his mouth, and he's gotten pretty agreeable about opening his mouth on cue until he's full, when he wants to play instead. Of course I know that while this is working for now, eventually he's going to have to feed himself ("Uh, mom, I'm going to dinner with some friends... could you come put the spoon in my mouth?"). The longer I wait to let him figure out how to do it, the harder I think it'll be, but I have this major issue with the mess factor.

Now, he can experiment all day long with peas, Cheerios, and Puffs; they're not messy, and he's adorable chasing them around his highchair tray and occasionally getting one near his mouth. It develops his motor control, and it's a form of self-feeding, so I'm great with that stuff. The spoons and the runnier foods, though, are causing me considerably more angst. I've always had a problem with food messes — spills, dirty dishes, crumbs on the floor — these things bother me so much more than other kinds of messes. So today, when I decided to try to get over myself and gave Kent free reign over some banana pieces, some applesauce, and a spoon, I was about to hyperventilate from frustration. Let's call it a failed experiment in trying to mellow Erica out.

At times, I just want to grab the spoon and say firmly, "Now, see, THIS is how it's done!" But of course that's ridiculous. He wouldn't learn that way, either, and it would just make him more wary of mealtimes. I realize it's my problem to get over, but I'm still having a lot of trouble. I consoled myself somewhat today that I could change his clothes, wipe him off with a wet towel, and come clean up the rest of the mess after I had gotten him down for a nap, which I did. And I'll probably think this hangup is hilarious in a few years, when the messes we'll deal with are so much worse and I'll be nostalgic for just a couple of spoonfuls of applesauce on the floor.

We'll get through it, just like we got through the napping situation. If you had told me 3 months ago that Kent would be taking two naps every day, some of an hour and a half, I'd have laughed derisively at you and told you you were crazy. So this, too, shall pass, as many of my supportive loved ones are fond of saying. I just needed to communicate the BLARGHness of it all.

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this post made me laugh. I made a rookie mistake and gave E couscous at that age. Talk about MESS!!!!

Really, don't stress out about this one. Ellis is only NOW starting to get the hang of utensils at almost 3yo. He's been self-feeding by hand for awhile. Haha! Though sometimes I stuff bites in, but that's a focus problem not an ability problem.

When he was in the highchair, I used to give him one spoon to play with and mouth all over and bang with and I would feed him with the "official spoon". Far less messy.

If it's any consolation, high chair messes really rank up there on the gross scale. The thing that irks me is crunching on cheerios, goldfish crackers, or whatever crunchy snack that has been strewn on the floor. Drives me CRAZY to step back and feel *crunch*. Aaaagh!
yes, this is one of the more messy of the parenting adventures..I second diber...the second spoon trick is a tried and true one. GL! Heather
(purely from a childless person so...) Would it help if he was naked eating (or just diaper..) to me it seems like the part that I would have the worst trouble with would be smashing food into clothing and worrying about cleaning that up. Skin wipes right up and plastic highchairs do to. You could even put newspapers under the chair each day if that made you feel like it was okay to be messy. or i suggest having a dog, as J'nette and you will remember being very helpful with cleaning up after people who have trouble getting all the food in the mouth... :)
I completely feel your pain. I HATE mess, and yet I live in perpetual yuck. Right now I am glancing at my kitchen table. I see 8 cheerios under the highchair and two that made it over to the bar. I see one cheerio that has been "crunched", as was mentioned. I see a cup of water that has rolled under the table and a bib that was apparently throw at some pint. I see toast crumbs at Ben's place and croissant flakes at Anna's. There are also some wayward napkins, a dishrag that started wiping the table and then stopped, an open cup of milk that my son must be responsible for, and a pink dress up purse that is not supposed to be on the table with the food per "the rules". All that stuff is still there because during my "free time", I was making a from-scratch dairy-free birthday cake for Emily and was unable to clean up. For the record, I think one of the worst foods for self feeding is yogurt. Especially the home made kind because it is runny.
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