When you’re the smallest member of a household, a mini human surrounded by fully grown adults, you are likely to crave the independence and control over your own fate that comes with maturity. It comes in small acts at first, the desire to feed oneself, defiance over what you’re told to wear or do, but it’s there. The longing for adulthood that just increases as childhood rushes towards adolescence. The longing for autonomy.
At two years old, Miss Rose has always been the child in houses of adults. First with myself and The Ex-Husband, then with me and her grandparents, then, when we moved to our own home just after she had turned one, just with me. Miss Rose was the baby and she loathed it. She wanted to do everything for herself and by herself, and resents outside interference massively.
The Boy’s son Z is a few months younger than Miss Rose and, as a very different personality, hasn’t craved that level of control over himself and is quite contented with being the baby in a lot of situations. This means that suddenly Miss Rose isn’t the baby anymore… and she seems to resent this even more.
Any efforts I made to spoonfeed Miss Rose did not last long. I started with some of her foods, porridge and yogurt, but generally I just let her stick her hands in it or try to use a fork. Indeed, very quickly she reverted from accepting my feeding her bedrudgingly, to clamming up or screaming in protest. I haven’t spoon fed Miss Rose in a year and a half.
Z is usually spoonfed anything that isn’t a finger food such as toast or biscuits, and Miss Rose has noticed this. This evening she decided she was fed up of the adults of the house trying to tempt Z into eating with a series of helicopter noises and gaping mouthed funny faces whilst she was left to her own devices with a fork. She refused to eat… until I held out a fork of food to her when she opened her mouth and willingly accepted it.
“Are you my baby?” I asked her.
“Like Z” she replied, smugly.
In due course her dinner was successfully eaten, followed by a yogurt which I also fed her. The only thing she ate on her own terms was the blueberries I gave her after, and I am pretty sure that’s just because there wasn’t a spoon in the bowl when I gave it to her.
The coveted position in the house is no longer that of the adults who are abandoned to fend for themselves, but that of the baby who is furnished with attention in the form of feeding, and praise when a mouthful is eventually accepted.
I am not expecting this phase to last for very long. Her natural desire to be in charge of everything, and her inclination to “fight the power”, will override the appeal of being the baby of the house. But, for now, she appears to have regressed, and I almost enjoy her being my baby again. Almost.
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