Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday, Monday. Can't Trust That Day.

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


MOMMY-MOMO said...

Okay Erin- Here's my input. Dont be to hard on yourself at all! totally normal stuff. they're feeling their oats. trying to see what they can get away with. The food change. he's a toddler and you were lucky he ate that stuff in the beginning haha! easy never does. its rare. my pedi said to not be to crazy about it. the toddler diet is pretty much made up of cheese, gold fish crackers, ck nuggets, and milk. they some how survive and grow just fine. she advised to sneak in the healthy foods as much as possible and to continue to put the healthy stuff on his plate. he will eventually eat normal.

They're their own little people. he will not like things you want him too. be creative. like easy will only eat the purple grapes not green. haha. pick your battles of whats really important. so i buy purple now. no biggie.

with the feeding himself. He wont starve. he will eventually eat. this is what i do: i feed easy his normal meals through out the day. sometimes he eats very well, sometimes barely anything. i dont stress to much about it and at the end of the day before he goes to bed. if i know he barely ate anything that day i will feed him a yogurt or something before bed so i know he will sleep ok.

hope my novel helps. :)

Helene said...

This is such a sticky situation....and honestly I don't know the answer. I'm dealing with this myself too but in a different way...with my 4-yr old son who constantly says he can't do stuff. I know he can and he just has to apply himself but he gets discouraged so easily at the first bit of challenge. I keep telling him practicing will help but if he can't do it 100% right the first time, he doesn't want to do it.

In reference to your little guy refusing to feed himself, I think you should just try to stick with what you're doing, if it feels right. My pedi used to always tell me that kids will not starve. They can go a whole day practically not eating anything substantial and they'll be fine. They make up for it over time.

One of my little twins doesn't like to use utensils when he eats so he'll use his hands. I take the meal away from him until he tries with the fork/spoon. I know he can do it but sometimes he's just too impatient. He's 2.5 yrs old so I know he can do it.

This whole parenthood thing is tough, isn't it?

Leann Capra said...

Have you tried like a reward system yet? You know like a sticker wall and he gets a star for everything he does by himself like getting dressed, eating, brushing teeth ect.

Dadaaaaa said...

Leann, apparently you have not seen the dresser in Parker's bedroom!

Stacy Roman said...

I know it's easier said than done, but just be patient. It will pass. My kids used to be the best eaters--then they turned two. Gavin has become a much better eater over this last year, so I promise that it does get better. He even tries new and different things! Lauren, on the other hand, is playing the game. She'll ask for something and then staunchly refuse to eat it. I got so mad last night that I resorted to yelling. She was so shocked, she sat down and quietly ate her dinner. :)

Visit My Writing Blog

It's Couch Time!

It's Couch Time!
Check out books and movies Mamatoosi and others have been critiquing!