April 30, 2009

Mealtime Madness, Part 3

As if PK's rejection of food and bottle weren't bad enough, I've also had to deal with a new meal-time development: fidgeting in her high chair.

When PK's not eating, she wreaks havoc in her high chair. I have a glass-top round table in my kitchen, and in order to keep the glass from scratching, I have a tablecloth on top of it. The tablecloth is nice and used to belong to my grandmother, so I have a placemat in front of PK's high chair, in case I spill food in that area. First of all, PK can't sit still in her high chair once a meal is done. She needs to play. So I usually give her a bunch of toys that I attach to her high chair so that she can amuse herself while I eat. I guess she's bored with her toys now, because she has decided that her placemat is the coolest toy ever. And she'll go through great lengths to get to it. She has learned to reach over and tug on the tablecloth in order to get to her placemat. This makes me very nervous, because I've usually either got a glass of juice on that table and/or her glass bottle with formula. Not good. Not only that, she has also learned how to stand on the footrest of her high chair. I think I'm going to have to start using the high chair seatbelt again. I'd stopped using it so that I could pull her out of the chair more quickly in case she was choking.

Once I take away all of the things that she likes PK throws a little tantrum. I have to eventually put her in her pack-and-play in the living room, so that she has more room to play. If you're wondering why I don't bring this into the kitchen, it's because I have to go up 5 steps to get to my kitchen from the living room, and I use the pack-and-play to plop her down before we go out.

I suppose that all this fidgetiness is actually a good thing. It means that PK is active and healthy and doesn't want to be tied down for long periods of time (you can imagine that if she's this fidgety in her high chair, she's even WORSE in her stroller). It just means that I'm absolutely POOPED at the end of the day...

This week, mealtimes have gotten a bit better again, though they haven't been fuss-free. I still have to sometimes sing to her to get her to open her mouth. Getting PK to take her bottle is still a challenge, but I've adapted and am now making sure that I either give her a bottle about an hour before lunch or dinner, or just give her a smaller bottle with her meals (I know it doesn't quite add up, but it seems to work).

The only thing I can think of that is making her so fussy about eating is that maybe there's another tooth coming in. She's had the occasional rosy cheeks and drool. Last week, I even found her to be a bit warmer than usual (though no fever). I've been poking my finger in her mouth almost daily to look for signs of a new tooth, but I haven't seen one so far. Poking my finger into PK's mouth has become increasingly challenging these days, since she likes to chomp down on my finger. One time, she even drew blood near my cuticle.


Marianne said...

You may want to check out baby led weaning. It's an approach to feeding babies that essentially lets them lead the way and eat solid food as they are ready, skipping most purees (unless it's a food adults woudl eat with a spoon) and allowing the child to feed themselves. Examples of starter foods would be steamed broccoli, or steamed carrot sticks. Once the child has the pincer grasp, instead of holding things just in their fist, they can eat pretty much anything as long as they can gum or chew it and it isn't hard enough to pose a choking threat. Check out this link: http://babyledweaning.com/ or google baby led solids or baby led weaning.

Marianne said...

Sorry, got distracted by my daughter before I was done! I wanted to add:
many children are happier and will eat more when they have control over their food. But the baby-led solids approach also gives the parent more time, because the child feeds themself most of the food, so you can eat at the same time ... therefore less time for them to get bored and fool around in their chair when they're finishing eating and you're not!

I should also add that we used a mix of spoon feeding and actual solids, but mostly spoon fed things like applesauce, yogourt, etc that obviously need a spoon. It has made food preparation a lot easier too, because she eats pretty much exactly what we do!

Whatever you end up doing, I hope you find an end to the frustration soon!

Mr. Shiny and New said...

The details are slightly different but PK's behaviour is very similar to my daughter's behaviour. The last few months she's been very fussy at meals. Some days are good, some are bad. One week she hardly ate anything. It's a major hassle. And we are trying to get her to feed herself... sometimes it works, other times not so much. I'm slightly discouraged... and I have a friend with a 3-year-old who has to be majorly coaxed and cajoled into eating by herself. But the main thing is that the kid gets fed something, somehow. I suspect that if she isn't getting enough to eat she'll just get hungrier and will eventually cooperate a bit more.