Cayman Prefers to Feed Herself

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Feeding time has become a frustrating time for this mama.

When Cayman does want to eat, she prefers to feed herself. That's the positive side of things. She's been aspiring independence in this area. It's a beautiful thing. A blessing really. Another one of our everyday miracles. But there's some challenges that have come along with it that has left this little mama feeling strained.

Cayman eats so slow. I think she gets bored before she even fills up and then begins to get ornery about meal time. She flings food, throws her fork, or dumps her bowl over the side. Sometimes she even uses her messy utensils to comb her hair.

All part of being a toddler that is two I understand.

So much of meal time is me trying to keep her focused to continue eating and not play with her food. And Heaven forbid if the Mommy tries to feed Cayman. She'll spit out every one of those bites. So I've learned to put my hand over top of hers that is holding the spoon and guide each bite into her mouth so she still feels like she's in control. This works for a little while until that devious spark in her eye returns, a grin stretches across her face, and that little tongue sticks out from her mouth, it's more like spraying the food all over me. Then she laughs. And not just any laugh. It's a laugh that comes straight from the depth of her belly and it drips with pure orneriness.

To be honest, it takes every part of me to not crack up too. Who would have ever thought, this little girl, born with only a tiny ribbon of brain matter, could have so much personality and silliness?

But no matter how cute she is about it, she must learn that that is not proper meal time manners. We are not a family of baboons - well most of us anyways. :)

But like I said, that's more of the positive side of the meal time frustrations. I have the patience to deal with that kind of stuff.

Where I begin to grow inpatient is when I fear setbacks for Cayman. I feel anxious about the amount of food she is actually ingesting. Dropping in L.B's is not a good thing for the already tiny Cayman. She's a little peanut. At her two year wellness check up, she weighed in at 19 lbs. 8 oz. I heard the notorious [friendly] lecture from her pediatrician about that. We talked about ways on increasing her caloric intake and gaining weight.

That's superb but only works when your child actually eats!

I've been trying to break the meal times down and feed her small amounts but more often throughout the day. This actually works the best but is the very part that is straining on me.

It seems right when I get started on a cleaning project, some other day task, errand, or staying on track with our appointment schedule, I get interrupted by this new feeding agenda. It's been difficult trying to get anything accomplished when stopping to feed my little toddler every 2-3 hours that eats at the speed of a snail.

Truthfully, Cayman hasn't been on the weight charts since she was only a couple months old. But I've never felt anxious about it because I had the confidence that her intake was a healthy amount. She's typically a good little eater.

But lately I'm losing that confidence. With her new found ability in crawling and mobile independence, she is very active. High activity requires more calories and she's been taking in less than her normal. Plus she needs her strength and weight gain as I foresee another surgery in the near future. (More on that another time).

See why I feel concerned?

I'm really hoping it's just a teething thing. She's popping in three of her pearly whites right now. Her crabbiness reveals to me that they are bothering her. So hopefully this phase will pass and she'll be back to eating like a champion again soon.

This mama's nerves would really appreciate it!

Oh, sweet independence you are so yummy...

and Messy too!

16 Showin' Comment Love:

The James Family said...

I love these pictures... she looks so much like Mike with that little look in her eye... she sure takes after daddy in that department. :) We will pray that she starts eatting better for you - I know it can get frustrating Keegan is the same way he won't eat either. Keegan gets most of his calories from choc. milk hopefully you can find that one thing that Cayman can get a lot of calories from. Love you guys and missing you so much right now.

Sue said...

Wish I had something magical to say to make you feel better about Caymans eating....or lack of. I think as long as she looks healthy....and she does, and is active, which she is, all should be well. 3 of my 4 were always over the top in height, and at the bottom in weight too, and one we always seemed to have to try to get to stop eating....and that is no fun either!!! So I guess the only 'magical' advice is....look at that healthy looking, active little girl and....rejoice!!

Grandma S said...

Maybe this is why Cayman likes to visit Grandma, we both eat every 2-3 hours. I agree with Sue. She looks so healthy; if she was hungry, she would eat. Before long she'll get an appetite like her daddy, and you'll be thinking it's time to put her on a diet. I love the pictures, though.

Tiffany said...

I am so with you, Kristen. We get the "friendly" lecture all the time...Olivia is 9 and only weighs 45 lbs!!!! I hope that makes you feel better. :) Eating time is always messy and stressful, but I'm guessing by the time Cayman's 9 you'll feel more relaxed about it. I still have days where I get really angry about it and worry about her calories, but they are less and less. hang in there!!

Carla said...

Oh dear! I worry right along side with you. Little Man's feeding issues are no secret. We mommas just have to keep plugging along, spoon in tow, and make every bite count. I also get the "freindly" lectures on weight gain from our pedi too. Have you tried a dietician from EI? Ours is a God-send, she has really helped us out.

My name is Sarah said...

This is Joyce. Ugh, eating. I think aside from the real significant medical issues that has to be the most frustrating issue for most moms with a child with any type of developmental challenge. Then throw in the want for independence and it does cause havoc for sure. I got to the point that I taped up a plastic table cloth on the wall behind Sarah's chair and spread newspaper on the floor and just let her do her thing. I always said that when Sarah was hungry enough she would eat. And those charts - hate them.

I say head to Columbus and order up a stadium dog, nachos, a pretzel with mustard, some salted peanuts and a large coke on Saturday. She'll love it. (of course you will be broke at that point). Unfortuantely this is the only week that the state Buckeye league that Matt plays soccer for is in northeast Ohio, so we will not be at the game.

Beth said...

Love it!!! She is so stinkin' cute! Brooklyn is our slow eater - I mean slow, slow, slow and messy messy messy! I don't know how she gets food in the places she gets it!

I hope you find a solution to getting more calories - we've always fought the "your kid needs to gain weight" battle b/c none of our's are on the charts! Luckily - our current ped is happy that they are growing at their own curve and maintaining that!

I just love reading your blog and seeing sweet Cayman's face!!! Always brings a smile!

Mary said...

Wow how many baths does she take a day with the new meal schedule. I hope the teeth pop in soon and she is back to her old self for ya.

Kim said...

I sooooo feel your pain. My little girl didn't hit the 20 pound mark until she was 26 months. Something that helped us (or at least gave me some comfort) was pediasure. It is full of calories, in fact our nutritionist told us the most calories can be packed into liquids. Some kids don't like it but my daughter thought it was a treat and would guzzle them down. That being said I still worry about her intake and she will be 7 next month.

Kristen said...

Grandma Sue,

Not only is it because of the frequency of eating, but you also eat at her speed too.


Kristen said...


Yes, lots of baths, and lots of laundry! Oh and lots of cleaning the floor, washing her highchair cover. And not to mention I rarely go a day myself without wearing food stains on my clothes anymore. :)

Lisa said...

Boy oh boy, feeding issues seem to be a common theme lately on many of the blogs that I visit.

But I do love her independent side! That's wonderful. And her coordination is amazing. Those are definitely things to cheer about :)

*Monica said...

Ahh, the joys of feeding. Jack's apraxia of speech caused a LOT of choking on food and once he choked, he was done with that particular meal. Such a pain. We also depended on pediasure for quite some time, but now he is getting carnation instant breakfast once or twice a day to help him along.

I hope those teeth pop in soon!!

Josephine said...

Brogan has never been a big fan of eating anything when he's teething, which is all very well except that it takes him about 2 months to get a tooth! So I hope that Cayman will enjoy eating more food again once those teeth are out. Also, you can't really blame the girl for being more interested in these amazing news skills of hers than eating!! It is exciting for us as parents when our little ones start crawling and moving around, but I imagine it must be at least 10 times more exciting for them! It's no wonder that food suddenly loses it's appeal :) But very frustrating for mommy. Especially, I imagine, when your little one doesn't have any extra weight to spare! Good luck with this! And I'm intrigued about the surgery you foresee.....nothing serious I hope?
I was just thinking to myself yesterday that I look forward to the day that I can wear the same shirt or pants for more than an hour or two before it needs to be washed!! That has to somewhere in my future, right??

Josephine said...

Oh, and funnily enough, Brogan has been my problem eater (although he's never been underweight or anything), and we did the carnation instant breakfast thing for a while too. Until about 2 or 3 months ago I could never rely on him to eat anything solid from day to day, so instant breakfast eased my mind - at least I knew that he had SOME decent-ish nutrition each day!! And it tasted yummy too, so he was happy :)

Kristin said...

Wow did you just enter my brain because that's EXACTLY how I feel!