Every mealtime I’ve shared with my little girl over the past few weeks, I’ve sat on my chair as normal – as she has managed to charm her way out of her highchair and right onto my knee.
At 18 months, she’s going through a ridiculously clingy stage where if she can see me, she wants to be with me. And when I say with I mean clinging on, koala-like, wherever I go.
It’s cute, and I do love it, but it’s not the easiest way to eat a meal. Especially if it’s something messy like rice, spaghetti or (here comes the fun one) beetroot! Cue pink-coloured hands, clothes and both our faces. Not only does she sit and eat on my knee, she also eats the food off my plate, or sometimes just nibbles or sucks at it before ramming it into my mouth with a cackle. Lovely.
This week I’ve tried another strategy. I’ve stopped putting her in the highchair and started using a booster seat instead, to help her feel more like us at the table. It’s worked a little bit, but I still have to be careful who I turn my back that she hasn’t pinched a tiny bit of something from my plate. I’ve also found if she says she wants to get down from her seat and I move the food away out of reach, she changes her mind and points and shouts at the food until it’s returned!
I didn’t have this issue with my son, as to be honest if he was given food he really wasn’t interested in moving from the table until he’d finished. It’s a different story now though, at nearly six the battle is to keep him at the table once he’s finished eating, rather than bolting off and coming back for dessert half an hour later. If anyone has any advice on either front, I’d love to hear it! Don’t you remember when mealtimes were peaceful?