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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Don't Hold Them Back

I find in many ways, I'm holding my kids back. Not really on purpose, but either for convenience's sake or just pure cuteness, there are certain things I don't want to end.

Take eating, for example. We just got back from our yearly check up, and the babies are right on task if not ahead of the curve except for one thing. I spoonfeed them like they're infants. Every meal, I can be seen shovelling food into their mouths because they refuse to use silverware by themselves. I don't want them to starve, and I don't have 90 minutes to fight with them over whether or not they're going to use their forks like real people, so I just feed them. It's easier.

The doctor was startled to say the least.

"So," she said, "they're completely potty trained?"


"And they can count to ten?"

"20 at least."

"And they know all their colors and they can peddle a tricycle and they know their names and ages?"


"But you...FEED THEM?"

Apparently this isn't normal. And I can tell you, it sure is a pain in the neck. What parent wants to be spoon feeding their child three times a day? Not me, boy. I'd really like to get back to the life in which I could sit down at the table and eat my own food. Maybe even while it is still at least luke-warm. But the babies are not the problem. I am the problem.

They know how to eat. I've seen it. Give them ice cream, and not a drop makes it to the ground. I don't feed them ice cream because I couldn't care less if they didn't get any of it into their mouths. They know how to use a spoon. They just refuse to. And I give in because I want them to eat. No more, I say. We'll see how hungry they get. They have to learn to eat for school anyway. I mean, they're three. They have to learn to eat, for goodness' sake.

Another way in which I hold them back is language. They say a few things wrong, and within myself, I find it the cutest thing ever. "I dood it with myself" is my favorite example. I could teach them "by myself" in a day, but I'll be sad to see "with myself" go.

Just days ago, they were saying "I need..." to everything. They needed ice cream, or candy, or to go outside, or to play princess.  I corrected them twice by explaining the difference between need and want.

They say "I want" now, correctly. I felt a pang when the incorrect use of "I need" fell away, especially since it left so quickly.

But that shows how ready they are to learn, how eager they are to pick up new and correct ways of doing things. As a parent, I must be careful not to hold them back for my own purposes. They are ready, and I am here thinking, "awww, but I liked that one." Not good enough. Babies grow up. Better they grow up speaking correctly and feeding themselves than not all because I thought it was cute and wanted my babies to be babies forever.

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  1. As a preschool teacher, I've seen many children who have been fed their whole lives - and you're right. It does hold them back a little. Holding utensils and self-feeding is a powerful fine motor skill that sets children up to hold a pencil and use scissors properly.

    One method I've used with children who refuse to feed themselves is to make it a counting game. One bite from me, one bite by yourself. Two bites from me, two bites by yourself. Eventually you can say "if you feed yourself four bites, I'll feed you one!" and up it every time. You are going to love the freedom!

  2. I had a similar problem with my youngest. But I didn't feed her once she could put food to her mouth by herself. I didn't care if she used her fingers. She still loves to be fed, and it's a rare occasion she actually does. But now she uses a spoon with out a problem. She still has issues with a fork, but I chalk that up to not deciding a hand yet.

  3. I know what you mean about the cute things they say. But just remember it won't be very cute when they're 6...or 10...saying things like that. So make videos, write down the cute spontaneous phrases, and then go back and watch/read your saved media often. It's sad, but they're gonna grow up and there's nothing you can do about it! :)

  4. You are a wonderful mother and I LOVE reading what you write.

  5. Thank you so much. I really appreciate that.



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