As a mother, I feel that it is right to do everything for our children, from the smallest things up to the challenging ones but this is not always possible. Rather than feeling guilty which sometimes happens as much as I want to avoid it, I try to put it in a positive way that I am encouraging my children become independent and develop whatever skills that they can do as a young child.
As much as possible, as early as 20 months I let my girls eat on their own or whenever they are ready. With my eldest who is now 5 years old, she was on her own before she turned 2. She’s my eldest and first born so expect that she was too pampered compared with the younger one who started eating by herself on her 20th month.
Today at lunch, while I was setting the table, looks like she knew we were going to have lunch so she pulled my shirt trying to tell me to set up her table too! I saw her pulling out the folded chair towards her “dining” table.
She makes mess. She drops her spoon at times. She spills her drink when trying to reach for it. But it’s okay. That’s where and how she learns. And that’s how I learned too from watching my girls as they develop themselves and their skills slowly.
I remember when it was Deye’s time. I would always spoon feed her literally so she won’t make mess, that way I save my time from sweeping and wiping the soiled floor. But on our days off, the scenario changes. My husband would put her on the floor, give her her food while we have our meal. Then she dropped her cereals deliberately and looked at us. I was about to react but my husband stopped me and said “Let it be, she was checking the gravity.” I took it the positive way that yes, it could be. That she must be experimenting on something. I think that helped a lot.
At 5 years old, my eldest has become very independent especially when I am not around. She dresses up on her own when their nanny and I are occupied on something. She brushes her teeth without reminding her. She puts away her toys when she’s done playing. She eats by herself and you don’t have to cut whatever into small pieces. Downside is she’s a picky eater.
Though at times, she fails to be independent especially when she misses me, trying to catch my attention. By now, I can conclude that I am raising my girls the way it should be.
By the way, the pink plastic bib that my bunso was using in the above photo was a hand me down from her Ate Deye. Ate Deye used that when she was also at her baby sister’s age. It’s pretty cool! You don’t have to worry having your child’s shirt or bib gets soiled. With this one, you just have to wash it like your dishes, let it dry and reuse till it gives up on its own. In our case, I have taken care of it as how I am taking care of my girls, and look at it, after 3 years, it’s still in good condition.