One of our long-term goals for Lily is to get her to the point where she's feeding herself. Complicating this issue is how little she is. She's very underweight, and so one of the biggest hurdles Lily's self-feeding has to overcome is us and our unwillingness to push her toward self reliance. Every calorie counts, and we've always felt that we couldn't afford to let her frustrations at mealtimes sabotage her getting fed. So how can Lily ever learn to feed herself, if we're constantly feeding her? We know it's an issue, it just takes a back seat to what we consider a larger issue, which is getting her fed. We'll get there.
This is all preamble to my morning with her yesterday. I was feeding her cereal, Lucky Charms to be exact, and although Lily finds them to be just as magically delicious as the next kid, I think she gets tired of the same taste over and over again, and shuts down after a dozen or so bites. Lily shutting down the next bite essentially amounts to 1) ducking her head, 2) closing her mouth, and 3) a rattlesnake-quick karate chop of the spoon as it scribes its determined arc toward her mouth, which in turn pisses me off because I get milk and marshmallows all over myself and the floor and the stress level starts to ratchet up as I deflect/distract/redirect in an effort to that all-important calorie-count up to something I think is "reasonable" for a growing girl her size.
We've been a little bit spoiled lately, because Lily's eating has been really good. She's sat nicely and accepted our efforts to feed her with utensils or by hand, and has strung together several months of relatively low stress mealtimes (with some exceptions, of course).
It's funny how many of the successful bargaining/redirecting strategies we forget when we have a long string of victories/successes, because no matter what I tried, Lily was not having that damned "next" spoonful of Lucky Charms. She was pretty "adamant". I really wanted to avoid a meltdown, and I'd decided I was going to back off and give her some time and space when she said to me, "Pause it."
This perplexed me. "Pause it? Pause what, Lily?" We were watching something. I don't remember what, Backyardigans or a DVD of her big sister's dance recital...something she enjoys.
"Pause the TV," she replied.
I stopped what I was doing and looked at her, and then looked at the remote sitting next to me at the table.
"Alright," I said. I pointed the remote at the television and paused it before replacing it on the table.
"First you eat, then I unpause the TV," she recited to me.
I smirked a little at that, and repeated it back to her. I brought the spoon again to her lips. This time she opened her mouth.
"NOW you get TV," she said.
I laughed outloud, repeated her statement back to her, and unpaused the television. It reminded me of the scene from The Simpson's where Homer ordered Bart to go to his room and spank himself because he was too lazy to do it himself.
She remembers. God, I'm glad this kid is around to raise herself.
|When she's not disciplining herself, she steals my phone and takes selfies|