We learn so much as we become mothers. I never realized that so much of it is trial and error. Your celebrate their successes, sometimes you cry when they cry, and sometimes you want to laugh when you really should be serious. Through illnesses, fevers, runny noses, hospital stays, rashes, hurt feelings, lost toys, mood swings, tears, laughter, fear and doubt we find a way to raise our children to the best of our ability. Sometimes we succeed, and sometimes we feel like we fail. But at the end of the day we are left with two big eyes, a set of chubby cheeks, and more love than you sometimes think can fit in your heart.
As many of you know, Gabe has become quite the picky eater. I know this is going to sound ridiculous but it really did seem to happen over night. He went from eating everything in sight to eating a few fruits, pizza, french fries, yogurt, milk and goldfish. That's it. This has went on for months now, and we have tried every which way we could think of to get him to eat.
It turns out that a little tough love is all that was needed to turn around my toddler. I thought I had done the tough love thing, but apparently I was giving in too soon. I thought 20 minutes was long enough for him to sit in his high chair and sob because he didn't want to eat what was for dinner, but I was wrong. I was starting to think that his defiance and attitude about not wanting to eat would never change, but again I was wrong.
Jeremy saved the day today. My husband is amazing, and proves it to me every day we are on earth together. I made spaghetti, a dish that Gabe used to love, but hasn't touched in months. We had fun with it, and encouraged him to pick it up with his fingers. At first, he wanted nothing to do with it, and even tried to give the plate back. But, Jeremy was persistent that he was going to eat, and gave the plate right back. Usually, Gabe and I go through the plate exchange up to 10 times in one meal. That's his way of saying, "umm..I'm not eating this". Jeremy decided to go back to the old food airplane trick, and Gabe finally took a bite! He quietly chewed, swallowed (which is a HUGE step in itself, before even if we could get it in his mouth, he would spit it out), looked up at me and said "Num Num, Num Num"!! He promptly started SHOVELING the spaghetti in! He ate the whole plate of pasta (and I gave him a rather generous serving).
I cried tears of joy at the dinner table tonight. As I sit and think about these past months, I always try to ask myself not "Why?", but "What?". "What" is God trying to teach from this experience? I think He knows that I needed help in the patience department, and I think He was trying to teach me patience for sure. I also think that He was showing Jeremy and I how strong our marriage is, because there were times when we did not agree with how this should be handled, but we always found a way to compromise and try a different way next time. I also think He was showing me that I must keep trying, even when I don't want to, and I'm tired, and I don't want to fight about food (or whatever it is). At the end of the day, we know what is best for Gabe, and we must keep trying to instill that into him every day.