On the weekends, when we feed Kaia all her meals, I usually sit with her at each meal to coach her, encourage her to eat new foods, and well, ensure she isn’t in danger (of choking). Chris occasionally does this, but he tends to get impatient, multitasks while watching Family Guy, and doesn’t do it as well as I do. Plus, I enjoy sitting with her and helping her eat more; I find this a very gratifying activity, assuming I’m not doing every single meal, every single day for her. It’s been rewarding to see her immense growth in eating solids via baby led weaning from six months through today. Her eating skills today are because of all the time and hard work I invested since she turned six months old and had her first avocado and mango, from coaching her, modeling chewing and spitting, cooking and preparing and cutting all her food in specific ways, etc. These are actual real life results in action NOW. Little else has had immediate reward for me as this has. That’s eight months of coaching and teaching her how to eat, bite, chew, rip, and tear, plus navigate the “map” of her mouth. She’s quite sophisticated for her age, as she needs very little supervision to eat everyday foods. I’m not that comfortable giving her things like whole grapes or cherry tomatoes just yet, but we’re quite close to getting there.
One thing Chris never thought he’d do as a parent was to hide while eating his noodles. If Kaia sees us eating fruit, noodles, or bread (her favorite things) and she hasn’t had her own portion yet, she will go crazy and start yelling for what we’re eating, so we have to hide while eating these things unless we’re eating them at the same time. We always prioritize vegetables and new foods first for her before meat or carbs to ensure she gets adequate vegetables and new food exposure, so if she’s having something like fish, chicken, or noodles, she tends to have these last (well, very last is fruit as her “dessert”). This usually means that I have to squat while eating toast, or Chris has to carry his bowl of noodles high above his head and sneak past her and eat out of her view. It’s why we face her high chair towards the bedroom so she needs to really, really turn to try to see what Chris is eating while she eats. It’s pretty hilarious… especially when Kaia is astute enough to catch him eating noodles or toast without her.