I explained that the babe was taking a few bites at the beginning of each meal before she'd start waving her hands around and hitting the spoon. You know what happens when spoons with liquid food are hit. I must admit I wasn't that good at keeping my cool. She could tell I was annoyed. She also seemed to take pleasure in turning her head from me when the spoon got too near. Why would she be making this all so difficult? Does she not get that eating is in her best interest?
Another result of this whole not eating thing is that the babe has been getting up every 3 hours at night to eat. After getting used to some pretty good sleeping patterns, I was unhappy to go back to the every 3 hour schedule. I am about to start weaning her, and ramping up the night feedings isn't exactly the direction I want to be heading.
The doctor, bless her soul, made me feel better. Apparently the babe is "exerting her independence." She is playing games and manipulating me in an effort to secure my constant attention (whether it's positive or negative doesn't matter). It's apparently time for me to start playing games as well.
The doctor recommended:
- The babe eat with the family (which already usually happens).
- Make things "fun" (whatever that means).
- I should give her a spoon and bowl and help her feed herself (yikes). I tried this morning and the spoon and bowl ended up on the floor and the banana ended up smashed on the behind of her pants (I don't know how that happened).
- I should buy her a real plastic cup and teach her to drink from it (apparently no bottles after one year. I was just getting used to the sippy cup!).
- I should not get upset when she refuses to take a bite (remember to breathe).
- I should generally act like I don't care whether she eats or not. If I don't react, she doesn't get the attention she's seeking.
- I should accept that things are going to get messy (I'm buying better bibs and one of those plastic floor mats, pronto).
- I should enjoy my food while I eat and hope she sees how much fun I'm having.
We had a breakthrough last night. I'm not sure if the babe was just super hungry after 4 days of striking, or if she really liked the (small) grown up metal spoon I fed her with (you get more food on real spoons which is critical if the kid is only having a few bites), because she downed a bottle of carrots and a bottle of applesauce plus some Cheerios and proceeded to get up only once in her 10 hour slumber last night. It was delicious! Today she ate a bit more, and did really well at dinner. I have my fingers crossed for another good night. Maybe the strike will end before I even have a chance to implement the above-mentioned changes?
Regardless, it all makes me realize we will no longer have a "baby" in the house after December 7th. Welcome to the new world of the independent toddler. Yikes.