Whoo hoo! The boy has been feeding himself for his meals! Now, now, i can imagine what some of you might say, 'WHAT! 4 years old and still hasn't fed himself?' or 'No big deal, mine could self feed at 2!'. Well, before you pass such judgmental comments, do read on.
It's not like before this he CAN'T self feed. It's also not like he WON'T. He would happily feed himself if given a choice and this is how he'd do it; each scoop would contain ONE GRAIN of rice (you read correctly), after 2-3 scoops, he's done! Even if he was willing to eat more, how long would it take for him to finish his food at this rate?
You see, my son is a picky eater. No wait, that word doesn't even begin to describe him. It's not like he picks on his food, it's more like he doesn't want to eat at all. You cannot imagine the trauma we went through just to get him to eat. During his first year, he had NOTHING but breast milk. I would feed him for hours but he just wouldn't eat; he would stuff the food in his mouth for as long he could hold them and eventually spat them all out. It would be norm for both (yes, both) of us to end up in tears. I remember vividly how i would leave the wailing boy in the living room while i locked myself in my room, squat at a corner and sobbed. Whenever we had to eat out, both my husband and i would be so stressed out because we just don't know if the boy would eat. Countless times, he would reject his food causing my husband to be really upset, making me extremely angry and our trip out would be ruined. This went on for a good one year.
Finally, we found THE magic tool- the iphone. We realised if he was distracted with it, he'd eat for as long as he played! We'd feed him and he would finger away! It worked so well that for 2 years we just didn't have the courage to get him to self feed. We knew if we took away the phone and get him to self feed, that was the end of it. We would return back to square one.
For that 2 entire years, we would get disapproving looks from other parents and comments about how we shouldn't spoil our kid. I used to get really peeved at such judgmental comments and ashamed at the same time. But these people just didn't understand how traumatic it had been for us just to get him to eat. Let him starve, you say? Well, let me tell you we tried, but it didn't work. Once he managed to skip his lunch at school and you'd thought he would be starving by 3pm but no, he wasn't. Oh, did i mention how skinny the boy is? His 6 month old baby sister is already HALF his weight now. Still can't imagine? My 4 year old boy is still wearing his 12-18 month old pants! If he was a chunky monkey, i wouldn't have fret so much. Or if he was eating normally but still skinny- then i can say its his genes. But that's not the case, he is skinny BECAUSE he doesn't eat well.
So, i get really irritated when other parents give us looks or pass judgement on our parenting without knowing our background. Still, i decided, just as my homeschooling philosophy, to just chill & wait for the little guy to be ready. I really dislike making meal time so stressful for all of us- we've been there and it was really hell. And today, i can happily announce that the wait has paid off! Most of the credit goes to his school! Because he has been self feeding (& finishing his food) in school, getting him to self feed at home has been a breeze. PHEW!
So, what has it got to do with my blog? Well, this episode has proven my philosophy right once again- wait for your child to be ready. Once he is ready, everything will fall into place. Give your kid the respect he deserves and trust him to lead you. Just because we're the adults, does not make us all knowing.