Tuesday, August 09, 2005

A Little Clarification

Okay, okay. I guess I’m going to have to wade in here and explain since we’ve received some less than nice comments and e-mails.

First things first: Tenley has 2 main issues when it comes to eating in her highchair – 1) she doesn’t like to be restrained in anything for very long, and 2) she’s very busy and easily distracted.

When we first started the switch to solid food (cereal), we would wait until she was hungry and then try to feed her. This was mistake #1. Ten has this tendency to not let you know she’s hungry until she’s starving and by then she had no patience for a spoon and wanted the instant gratification of a bottle. So, we learned- and since she usually wanted to eat about every 4 hours, we started putting her in the high chair at 3.5 hours so that she was willing to eat but not so ravenous that the spoon was frustrating for her. This worked.

But Tenley evolved, and I missed it, so the pictures and the story (which were posted by Jeff – who was not even there when it happened) are from me making mistake #2. See, apparently Tenley got used to eating with the spoon, and I was trying to feed her before she was starving... which was not working for her because she was still too busy playing and exploring to think about eating. This was only the 2nd day of baby food, and I had learned from the previous days’ experience that she was hungry, but if you didn’t coax her into eating enough you would get to repeat the experience every 2 hours. Hence my sneaking the bites of oatmeal & mango (which she normally loves) into her mouth in mid wail....the side effect of which was that the wailing would momentarily cease while she swallowed. I wasn’t bitter with her, mostly just frustrated at the thought of spending another day with her being perpetually hungry and therefore cranky because she would never eat enough at one sitting. Clearly I wasn’t too worried in general because I got the camera to capture the bitterness so I can humiliate her when she starts dating. By the time I was taking the pictures, her temper had taken over and she was just having an angry meltdown. She got over it, drank 2.5oz of her bottle, and fell asleep while playing with her peek-a-blocks while watching Sesame Street. Lunch & dinner went much much better.

We learned from Friday that now we have to wait until she’s hungry enough to start getting cranky, and then put her in the highchair and begin the meal. If we do that, she’ll eat 2- 2.5 jars of baby food with no problem. This morning’s breakfast went just swimmingly with Tenley chowing down 4 oz of oatmeal cereal and a half a jar of pears with not a tear shed.

I truly appreciate the sympathy and constructive advice from others who have been there and done that. It’s always nice to know that others have fought the same battles and lived to tell the tales. The good news is that we will too, and so will Tenley.


Donna said...

Like I've already said to you a zillion times; your sense of humor will be your salvation in all of this!

I imagine that writing all of this down in a blog is therapeutic for you. I'm also pretty sure that you're taking a bit of creative license and throwing in some dramatization just to make it all a bit more poignant (and THANK YOU 'cuz it's funny as heck!).

Every parent has experiences similar to yours even though many of us aren't clever enough to think to grab the camera. My son is 17 and he's owned my heart from the moment I saw him but that doesn't mean every moment has been a Kodak moment. But I still wish I'd grabbed the camera more often.

I sincerely appreciate your willingness to share this extremely personal part of your family life with us and I don't judge you. You have my admiration in some ways and my sympathy in others. You also have my guarantee that Tenley will overcome some of her difficulties and evolve to have new difficulties that you'll be more experienced in dealing with.

Until then, keep blogging. You have friends in cyber space who are willing to give you all of the empathy, sympathy, or pearls of wisdom we can spare.

::::big hugs::::

Stacey Teague said...

I for one really appreciate your candidness (is that a word) in this "figuring it all out" stage of parenting!!!

Can she eat Cheerios? that might be a good thing to throw on her tray to get her thinking about something else and then you can squeek a mouthful in!!!

Email me, I would love to find out if you are living near us, we are in Carmel!


Anonymous said...

You don't have to justify yourself to strangers. Any mother (if they were honest) would say they have had simiular experiences themselves.. Heck, when I saw the photo of Tenley fighting food, memories of trying to feed my stubborn (but cute) baby came flooding back. I remember getting frustrated because my first born wouldn't feed, he was a 5lb premi so I felt the pressure to feed him up. I learned to relax over time and let him dictate when he wanted feeding.

There's no handbook that comes with kids, you have to make mistakes to learn (and there will be many more yet).You probably got more distraught than Tenley..

You are not supermom and nor should you try to be, you will learn as you go along just like the rest of us did, by baby #3 you will be an expert hehe..

Keep up the good work :)

Sparky said...

I think you (& Tenley of course) rock. Keep doing what you're doing mom.

Anonymous said...


I for one am so grateful for your honesty. I realize I have yet to have the opportunity to experience motherhood, but sure would rather hear it like it is than have some sugar coated, politically correct version of the experience. As with all things, there will be moments of joy, laughter, exhaustion and frustration, but love above all wins out. It is very obvious that you and Jeff love Tenley. Keep up the good work...Jo

Anonymous said...

This is a great website that I came across awhile ago. If anything you will definately not feel like you are alone in this. I have found it soooo helpful!

Karen said...

LOL I've actually been there with my 21 yr old son. Of course he was not 21 yrs old when we did the food battles, but you know. As with anything else...a child having a melt down in a grocery store for instance, anyone else is going to think that no matter how you handled it, it should have been handled differently.
I'm positive this is not the normal feeding ritual you use, because I have seen how much you adore your "monkey" baby, with other pictures and journal posts. But the images you gave me of feeding just one more spoonful when she was crying were so vivid of a couple of those battles I had with my son...but (as if you haven't already found this out) they usually win those battles.
Keep posting!!! I'm addicted.

Rina & John said...

You are doing well, don't worry about what other people say or think. They may be full of good intentions but they are not in your shoes and don't know what's best for your family.
Thank you for your honest journaling. I am learning a lot from your comments.

Soon to be Annalisa's mom

Mayzaboo said...

I would agree with the above comments- I admire both of you so much for taking on this challenge! Every baby is different, but I would think you do have to force some things on them that they don't really like, or else the baby would be in charge instead of the parents. But what do I know? I have no kids, and I've only been married for a little over 3 weeks! :)
Keep up the good work, you too- I'm totally enjoying reading your blog!
~Maren (Grimm) Berry (work friend of Jeff's!)