I am there. Where every mom dreads going and hopes she will be spared. I am there. The dreaded picky eating toddler stage who insists on doing everything himself. Don't get me wrong, it is a blessing to see my little man stretching his wings and showing some independence. However, meal time has a pesky habit of rolling around three times every single day. It can become a bit of a chore. What he loved yesterday, he now hates, and my goodness, ask him to try something new and it is like the world is coming to an end! And yet, I love my child. I adore my child. Sometimes I even think he hung the moon. So I patiently (or not so patiently) try, try again, until he learns I will always love him and that he can trust me to provide him with food he can eat.
So I am trying to be creative. Today we bought three new plates. Little divided tray plates that fit perfectly on his highchair. I got them for 98 cents each at Wal-Mart. He seems to like having his food neatly divided and having his own plate, like mommy and daddy have. He wants to SEE what he is eating and not simply have food thrust in his mouth. He is really starting to give up pureed foods, which is wonderful. I am so tired of buying baby food. BUT, I wish I'd realized this was going to happen overnight as I am just sick by the massive stock pile of baby food I have stashed in the back of my pantry. Baby food adds up so when you find a sale, you buy a mother load of it! :-) Once I am sure he has really given it up, the Salvation Army food pantry might strike it rich on baby food!
With a picky toddler you celebrate the small victories. And you resort to bribery. No, I am not too proud to offer my child a cookie if he eats a good meal!
Today's lunch and breakfast actually went fairly well. We tried oatmeal for breakfast and he totally hated that, so we switched to breakfast bar and moved on. I can't say I blame him and was not about to force him to eat oatmeal when I despise it myself. Lunch, however, was nothing short of miraculous! The new plates are working! He ate a whole piece of whole wheat toast, a whole slice of watermelon, tried three new banana chips I got him (he RARELY will try something new on his own...it usually must be forced into his mouth), and had 1/2 a jar of sweet potato puree. Woo hoo! He earned a cookie. And asked for a 2nd. I told him no.
Then it hit me. As I sat with my child at the kitchen table, turning cartwheels over the fact that he was actually eating his lunch, I realized how often I am Mr. Picky Pants saying, "I do it myself!" to God. I think about how ridiculous my child can appear when refusing a meal, telling me, his own mother, that what I prepared is not good enough for him. I imagine what I must look like to God, when I do just the same thing, telling Him, my Father, that what He prepared for me is not good enough and that I will do it myself! God must certainly have a great sense of humor because to watch adults revert back to the very behavior they despise in their toddler...well, it takes a mountain of love to overcome that. Thank you, Lord, for loving me. For having a cup that runneth over. For ever so patiently trying again and again until finally, one day, I realize I can trust that you will always love me and that you will provide me with food I can eat. Do you think God turns cartwheels when we finally get it? I like to imagine that He does.