I had no intention of blogging today. I was supposed to be grocery shopping a long time ago. But I can't even finish my meal planning/grocery list because Parker has been crying all morning. I can't believe I've managed to stay calm this whole time. I've had to say quite a few silent prayers for patience, and God, fortunately, answered them. I am now attempting some sanity and distraction by writing while he's throwing a tantrum in his room. I decided to put him in there instead of letting him pull on my pants and scream while I try to think about what we need for meals this week. I tried again to finish my list after putting him in his room, but it's futile. I can't concentrate when he's screaming like this. Ironically enough, food seems unimportant at the moment.
I bet you wonder why that's ironic and also why he's crying. It's because he's hungry, but refuses to feed himself. That's right. Over the past few months our "I do it all by myself" toddler has turned into a "I can't do it!" terror. He "can't" feed himself. He "can't" climb the stairs by himself. He "can't" put his toys away. I feel like a failure every time he uses those words. I want him to be proud of his accomplishments and want him to know we're proud of him when he does something all by himself. Lately, though, he has turned a regression corner away from which I have been unable to steer him. I wonder what I've done (or not done) to cause this. I've tried reminding him of the Little Engine That Could and the Bob the Builder slogan, "Can we do it? Yes we can!" He doesn't buy it.
While Lily was visiting, we had to help feed her with some items like yogurt and oatmeal, etc. When Parker saw that, you'd better believe he wanted us to feed him, too. To avoid a fight, I admit I probably made a huge mistake. I fed him. All the while I was doing it I was thinking about that terrible day a while back when I had to let him cry for an hour before he decided he would feed himself a muffin. Yup, see? I knew what I was getting into, but I did it anyway.
So, now, today, we're having the same struggle as that one day. He is so hungry and feels so yucky, but he refuses to feed himself his oatmeal. He wants it. He asked me for it. He asked me to feed it to him. I told him if he tried to do it by himself but couldn't that I would help him. He said no deal to that. He didn't even want to try. So I decided to just let him get down from the table and play until he was ready to feed himself. But that didn't work, either. I'm trying hard to stand my ground and not feed him. I feel so torn about it. I don't want to create a power struggle over food. Since he turned two we've had enough eating problems from him as it is. It's like his taste buds changed overnight. My self-feeding broccoli/spinach/chicken/fish eater just disappeared.
I just don't know if I should be spoon feeding him when I know he's perfectly capable of doing it himself. I question whether I'm doing the right thing, believe me. Am I being too hard on him? He's not even three years old, for goodness sake. But his self confidence lately has been so low. I can't figure it out!
After checking on him and having a talk with him, I was able to calm him down and he's finally playing at least. Do I dare bring him to the grocery store hungry? That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. Maybe now I can at least finish my grocery list in peace and then we'll see how things go...
And by the way, I would appreciate any life experience advice in this matter! Even if you think I'm going about this all the wrong way, give it to me; I can handle criticism. Sometimes it's the only way I learn.
From my quiet time reading today:
"... a sensible person learns by being instructed." - Proverbs 21:11