Let’s face it. Feeding toddlers is no fun. The parent must be completely “unplugged” as this is one stressful endeavor that demands our undivided attention.
My two year-old is too busy for food; sitting down to a proper meal is never on her agenda. If it were up to her, she’d happily spend the day grazing. Getting her through a “sit-down meal” is exhausting and oftentimes, I wonder if it’s more trouble than it’s worth!
This precocious active kid has bounds of energy whether she eats her “square meal” or not.
I know, I know, the rationale extends beyond the actual nutrition and eating habits- it’s the cultivation of manners, table etiquette, establishing rituals, etc, etc.
In spite of the above, the five reasons I dread feeding my beloved two year-old are:
1. Additional cleaning work - Regardless of the “spill-proof-ness” of the cup and position on the table or quantity of placemats and bibs used, I always end up investing an additional thirty minutes vacuuming, mopping and hosing down the entire “disaster area.”
2. Power struggles - To get her to sit still, I have to beg, bribe, trick her or eat half her food to “prove” it’s worth her time. Guess who ends up polishing off her plate while she’s off playing?
3. Additional laundry - Despite the mammoth size of my daughter’s bib, her food always ends up staining her clothes in the most noticeable places that the bib NEVER covers such as the shirt collar, shirt hem and sleeves.
Thus, the order of events is as follows: Toddler meal —> Dirty toddler clothes —> Stain remover —> Deposit into washing machine —> Change toddler’s clothes = LATE FOR EVERYTHING.
4. Mommy makeover - After her several failed attempts to successfully bring utensil to gaping-open-for-business-mouth, I offer assistance. When such help is vehemently rejected, the eternal struggle for control of the “spoon” ensues and Mommy’s clothes and hair are the combined landing strip for all flying food particles.
The order of events is as follows: Daughter attempts self-feeding —> Daughter fails miserably —> Mommy helps —> Daughter refuses & protests aide —> Mommy gets splattered mercilessly —> Mommy changes clothes and showers again = LATE FOR EVERYTHING.
5. Lifestyle conflict of interest - Had I the luxury to spend the entire day at home in a housedress, I could invest time in the consuming treacherous process of feeding-cleaning-food-fights-washing clothes-changing outfits-repeat-repeat. However, the reality is that Mommy has domestic work, errands to run, work and FOUR other children to chauffeur around. Nevertheless, most of toddler’s dining takes place in the back of my SUV while perched atop her carseat.
In resignation, I’ve realistically re-defined my goal to get her (us) through ONE sit-down meal a day!
How do you handle this messy, time-consuming stage of toddlerhood and still manage to get out of the house on time?
Written by Darah Zeledon. Mother of five, freelance writer, small business owner, and fitness freak, Darah has just returned to the US after living 9 years with her large brood in South America. Through an angle of humor, Darah´s uniquely optimistic perspective of raising children in today’s unstable world has been strongly influenced by her experiences running a household and various businesses in several foreign lands. You can read more of her here and here.