I think it’s hilarious how toddlers think they control their dominion. Or think that they should. I mean, talk about DRAMA when Thing Two can’t quite get the tip of the bottle inserted into Baby’s mouth — we’re talking epic. Or when she’s having trouble finding the precise corner of her deteriorating blanket to suck on, or struggling to turn a page of Elmo Loves You.Or using a spoon.Apparently I’ve “introduced” the spoon a little late. I was reading that around 12 months is about the time you start looking for “signs” that you should “introduce” it, like my baby is a quarter horse or a fallow field or someone not capable of demanding to be given a spoon. Which she is, and does. Seemingly overnight, she now becomes enraged if we do not give her a utensil.And if I HELP her use it? Well, you can forget the spaghetti.I want to say, “Lookit. This is new for you. You have never done this before. I know you watch your brother eat with forks, spoons and various Lego-comprised appendages, but that doesn’t mean you’re an expert. I mean, how can I take anyone seriously who is, by slow degrees, consuming her blanket like a billy goat?”But Maddie just plows right in, flinging yogurt over her head and down 1-30 into Arlington, manners and cleanliness be darned.Yesterday I discovered that the only way she will accept help is by allowing me to steer her arm by the elbow. As long as I make no contact with the spoon or her hand or the bowl of food. As long as I let go in time for her to blaze her own path to her mouth, a path that usually meanders down into her lap. Or mine.It’s funny how I can’t remember Drew’s journey to spoon-ing. So many of those milestones fade into the busy mosaic of lightning-speed parenthood, mostly because by the time they’ve happened, they don’t feel like milestones at all; more like mile markers in a rear view mirror. Wow: I guess he’s already using sentences. When did that happen? Wow: I guess she’s already singing songs. When did that happen? Besides rolling over, crawling, and walking, most “milestones” slip by between loads of laundry and trips to Target.I don’t think I’m as obstinate and controlling as Madeline in my life, but after the 89th meal of flung potatoes, it becomes hard to believe it isn’t hardwired into her genes — half of which I contributed.It makes me wonder: in what area is God steering ME by the elbow?
_________________________________________________________For more, visit wetbehindtheearsblog.com. For magical ponies and witticisms: Facebook, Twitter.