Monday, 13 October 2008

A battle of wills

I'm beginning to realise that the boy is strong willed. I can't say I blame him, my husband and I are both as stubborn as mules, I just thought that with regression to the mean the littlest one might display skills in laid-backness hitherto not seen in our house. No such luck though.

One of the main flashpoints is food, and our inability to predict what he wants to eat and when. Seriously, he's now more than a year old and was weaned at six months. You'd have thought I'd have got a handle on his likes and dislikes by this stage, but no.

First we had the 'suck it' phase, the boy would put pieces of food into his mouth, give them a good suck and then spit them out.

Then we had the 'anything on a ricecake' phase, where meals would only pass his mouth if they were spread on a ricecake so he could pick them up and feed himself. He didn't actually eat the ricecake, just sucked off the topping and threw them, like a sort of expensive disposable spoon.

Then we had the 'small round' phase. This corresponded with the development of his pincer grip (being able to pick up items between his thumb and forefinger). For a period of around three weeks he would eat only pincerable food - peas, sweetcorn kernals, blueberries, raisins, kidney beans and occasionally individual pieces of mince. Considering most small round things tend to pass through an infant's digestive system without hitting the sides, this made for some fascinating nappy adventures.

There has also been the 'throw it without even tasting it' phase, whereupon lovingly home-made nutritious meals would be flug over the side of the highchair without even passing his lips, just to see the noise/pattern they made when hitting the floor. This was particularly painful. I hate hate hate food waste, but even I couldn't bring myself to polish off left-over chicken casserole scraped from between the floorboards in my dining room.

We're currently going through a 'two bites' phase, the curse of the nosy child. Said child receives meal and attacks with gusto. Child eats just enough to take the edge off their hunger (two bites of tonight's offering, home-made chilli with rice and veg) before concentrating on something more interesting. Tonight this is making a sound and rubbing his lip up and down at the same time - babababababababa. Cute, but the annoyance at more floor cleaning overrides it.

I've tried ignoring, retrieving food from the floor and eating it with a big 'yum' (testing whether food from someone else's plate always does look more appealing), cajoling, bribing (yes I know he doesn't understand the concept, but I'm desperate here!) and even the big guns, fetching Daddy! Sadly I have come to realise that the child will eat when he's hungry and not when he's not, or when he's teething, or thinks there's something more interesting he could be doing.

See that sign on my head? Mummy muggins.

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