Our little boy has begun to flex his independence muscle. I knew the "easy days" of feeding wouldn't last forever. Meals are so simple in the first months of feeding. Fast and convenient. There are only three options:
1) Pop open a jar of food, find a spoon and shovel food into bird mouth,
2) Throw together a bottle, insert in mouth,
3) Nature's own "food delivery system" (by far the cheapest and most convenient).
The biggest challenge from 4 mo. to now was to remember what he ate so that I could ensure a balanced diet.
Just as Jonas was turning 11 months, I noticed he was getting fussy during meals. At first I was confused. Why doesn't he want to eat? Why's he turning away? He's normally a chow-hound, like his parents.
Then, I discovered that when I offered him a few Cheerios that he could pick up off the table, his orneriness abated and the happy, satisfied Jonas returned. "Fine, then," I thought. "Are you trying to tell me that you want to feed yourself?"
To the seasoned parent, his signaling may have been obvious, but I'm still relatively "green." So, I started cutting up suitable food and gave it to him. Surprise! He loved it. He's so much happier now.
Now, this does make things a little more tedious on the time-scheduling end. For one thing, it requires cutting everything into tiny pieces. If I were a sushi chef and had mad chopping skills, it'd be no problem. But, my skills are entry-level at best, so it takes me far too long. Second, I have to think a even more about food options to ensure he's still getting a balanced diet, because while he's eating more and more, he still can't chew a lot of vitamin-rich foods like raw spinach and other things you have in a salad. (We have salads often.)
That said, it is so exciting to witness his growth and development. We are so proud of our little stegosaurus each time he takes another step toward independence. But I wouldn't be completely honest if I didn't say that with each new development, I don't have a (brief) bittersweet moment as I acknowledge one thing: our little guy is leaving babyhood.