I try to enjoy all the different stages kids go through. On my third, though, I have to admit that this early self-feeding stage is one of my least favorite stages.
L prefers to feed herself. She doesn't want to be spoon-fed, and will spit out anything I try to put in her mouth via a spoon. If it's on her tray, and she can pick it up and feed it to herself, however, she loves it.
This means that every mealtime is a big mess. These are the days when I really miss nursing 42 times a day. It was much simpler when all I had to do is latch her on and wait for her to finish. Nowadays, I have to figure out what she can safely eat, prepare it, try to keep a bib on her, watch her make a mess of herself and 5 feet around her, then clean her up.
She still nurses, too. So, if I'm not preparing, feeding or cleaning up after a meal -- I'm nursing her. Honestly, it feels that way lately. Between her and the boys (who really are just fine -- and good at helping and getting food for themselves and picking up after themselves -- but they can't do it ALL by themselves) I don't know how I manage to eat.
I talked to a friend today who was shocked that someone gave her almost two year old a french fry. He's her first child (she's currently pregnant) and she has made sure he has never had any fried foods, and very few sweets. He had his first cookie just a month ago (and that was only 1/2 a cookie.) The thought of being that vigilant exhausts me. I'm glad L eats a few french fries and 1/2 a hamburger when we stop at Wendy's after the boys' enrichment program. That's one less meal I have to prepare and clean up after!