Wow, first off, isn't food/feeding our child(ren) an interesting topic? I was surprised by how many (and how diverse!) the responses were. I really appreciate everyones' input, though it still has me feeling about the same - confuse! I would read one comment and nod in agreement, only to find that I agreed with the next comment, too!
One comment that completely struck a chord for me was from one of my favorite bloggers, Tracy. She mentioned setting high standards for her toddlers and how surprising it is that they rise to the occasion.
I 100% agree with her in that setting high standards tends to result in better performance. Will surprises me on a daily basis with things that he understands/does/knows how to do. It actually shocks me sometimes how much this kid has retained. For example, we pulled up outside of Fred Meyer on Sunday, a store I usually don't go to. The last time we were there (three weeks ago), was for him to get his hair cut at the place next door. So, as we pulled into the parking lot, he started saying, "Hair cut! Hair cut!" Both M and I couldn't believe that he remembered that.
When I posted on family meal times, many people commented that making a toddler sit at the table was expecting too much, I started thinking about it and thought, "Yeah, that is a lot to expect a toddler to do." Strangely enough, 98% of the time, Will sits through an entire meal without incident, simply because those were my expectations of him. We started sitting him at the table with us before he could even sit up (in his bouncer) and moved him to the high chair when he was able to sit up on his own (even before he started solids). Meal times were something that were very important to me prior to even having a baby, so I guess my expectations were high. . . and, most of the times, he does just fine.
Conversely, I also realized that I need to recognize my standards might sometimes be too high and when that happens, I need to be flexible. I have now started giving him his color crayons and paper when he is "all done" with meals and it has made a world of difference on those times when he doesn't want to sit happily while M and I eat.
You see, my mom was a perfectionist mom, the type that always set the highest expectations. I clearly remember when I was in second grade, running home to tell her that I had scored the highest in the class on a spelling exam - 98%! Her response? "Why did you miss any? You knew all of those words?" Instantly, my excitement and pride were deflated. I no longer celebrated my victory in having an A grade, but rather started beating myself over missing the word (though I will never forget how to spell the word among again). While it did cause me to strive to excel, it also caused me to be over-anxious and very concerned about being perfect.
I know my mom meant well and just wanted me to do my best, but I just want to be very clear it the messages that I send to Will. I have very high expectations of him (and that will never change), but I want to make sure that they are reasonable and in tune with what he needs. I never want to deflate his ego or make him feel badly for doing his best.
Parenthood is such a fine line to walk. There are minefields and pitfalls at every step. One of the reasons that I am so thankful for my blog is that you and your wonderful advice are
all just a comment away. Thank you for taking the time to walk this journey with me.