I knew I was in trouble when my son whined alongside his highchair as soon as I started to prepare breakfast. He was an emotional roller coaster during the whole food intake session. He was happy to be eating, but upset because he was tired. This combination guided him back and forth from jubilation to despair and everywhere in between. It was a good thing that my daughter was her usual perky self at the table to help keep me sane.
In his defense, he stirred very early this morning. His monitor dutifully broadcasted his best dieing bird imitation for the forty-five minutes he rolled around in his crib. Before you judge us as neglectful parents, you should know that we have a video monitor and could see that he lay down in one direction or another throughout this ordeal. I hoped to catch a few more Zee’s before getting him, but he wouldn’t shut the %#^& up. Did I mention that I’m a little tired and cranky, too?
I strapped him into his highchair prematurely because of his childish behavior and had to resort to Cheerio bribing until the oatmeal cooled off. My daughter saw the box of Cheerios and dutifully and eagerly sat in her designated food consumption area. The Cheerio placation ended about five minutes later when the oatmeal would no longer melt the skin off the roofs of their mouths. The total number of Cheerios intake was too high to count, but well worth the effort of getting the box down from the shelf.
He was fine at first with the oatmeal, but did insist on feeding himself. His dexterity with his spoon leaves something to be desired but will come with time… we hope. He occasionally lets me guide his spoon into a mound of the oatmeal and he does the rest. Once in a while the amount makes it to his mouth. Other times were not so lucky. If I upset him in the middle of this process the food can end up anywhere and he screams for about thirty seconds. I try to ignore him during these cherished moments, but it’s hard not to notice a red-faced eighteen-month-old shouting what just might be baby talk obscenities at me. My daughter takes this all in stride and enthusiastically eats all of her oatmeal.
When my son stopped screaming and went back to the task at hand he decided the spoon wasn’t necessary and that the oatmeal would be eaten with his hands. After two dips and licks I put the spoon back in his hand without incident. He must have wanted to amuse me because he then dipped his other hand in the oatmeal and smiled. My daughter and I thought it was funny, but I had one of those parenting moments where I questioned myself. Should I let him make a mess and be happy or try to teach him the correct way to eat oatmeal? In these situations I err to common sense. To put it in other terms I use the philosophy, what would Britney Spears do? So I let him eat with his hands. The biggest problem with this was that he was very tired and tired little kids rub their eyes. Yes, he rubbed oatmeal in his eyes more than once. I tried to keep up with the hand wiping, but it was difficult because he’s quick.
When his oatmeal was gone, not necessarily eaten, I chopped up a banana for the three of us. I knew that a banana would wake him up a little because he loves most fruits to the point where he’s upset when their gone. This is when the emotions shot to the place that I like best, happy land. The three of us laughed at silly things so hard that I almost cried. My daughter commented on this in a unique way.
“Daddy, you have triangle faces,” she said.
“What do you mean?” I asked. It takes me a while to catch on.
She pointed to my mouth and repeated the triangle face statement. Now I got it, we were smiling. I told her that she had a triangle face, too and she smiled even more. Next, she made a pig snort sound and the boy imitated her, which made us all laugh even harder.
Our breakfast table was a place of many emotions today and I wouldn’t trade it for the world because those kids come up with so many things that I couldn’t ever dream of. Ask me if I would trade it for the world during one of the boy’s tantrums and I might have a different opinion on the matter.
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