I usually let them hold the fork themselves, at least

I feel a little better. Although my stop at the Farm Boy deli counter didn't help -- every time I see macaroni and cheese loaf I just want to collapse on the glass and say "WHY?" beseechingly. And what in the name of encased meats is PLAIN head cheese? Less eyebrow? Cheek only?

Then there was the aggravation of trying to convince my son that he could make a sandwich by himself. When we were visiting friends in Edmonton over Easter, I suddenly froze and realized, to my total humiliation, that I was CUTTING MY TEN-YEAR-OLD'S MEAT. Not that this is in any way unusual - I didn't feed him pretzels when he was eighteen months because I was afraid he'd choke on them, and then I suddenly realized when he was six that it was probably long past the time he could have pretzels. I start doing stuff and I just keep doing the same stuff, which doesn't work that well when you have rapidly changing children, except that those children naturally find it expedient NOT to volunteer the fact that they can probably construct a simple meal, put away their own laundry and wipe their own asses (okay, that I did stop doing) when apparently I'm happy to just keep on doing it all.

Fortunately just as I was about to say "oh my goodness, what am I doing cutting Angus's meat, I must have just had a flashback to when he was four", I looked up and saw my friend cutting her ELEVEN-year-old's meat. Whew.

Part of the problem is that I'm a control freak and Angus is a perfectionist. I don't really want him spilling milk and smearing mustard everywhere, and he has a morbid fear of exactly the same thing, because the world might END. The problem is, waiting until he's seventeen isn't then going to make him magically able to pour and spread and cut without making a mess. He'll just look like an exceptionally stupid seventeen-year-old.

Also, there's the fridge. I would post a picture, but I don't want anyone fainting or hurling on my account. If I'm going to insist that he makes his own lunch, I probably need to be able to provide better instructions than "okay, open the fridge. Now hold the salsa bottle with one hand and tip it over, reach past it and grab the middle part of that leaning tower of lunch meat and wiggle it out. I think the mayo is under that upside-down jam jar. If you reach to the very back of the bottom shelf and bend your hand back towards your wrist you might be able to hook a package of cheese slices."

Farm Boy had two more containers of Eve's coconut yogurt yesterday. That's the only thing she's willing to get for herself, and she eats it six times a day so I don't have to feed her much else for the next little bit.

Right, then. I'm off to clean out the fridge and stop stunting my children's developmental advancement.


Ms. G said…
I have the same issue with waking mine up in the morning. They have alarm clocks. I am probably doing great damage. Also reminding the one who will 18 next week that it's time to get ready for work! Good lord, she's going to live with me till she's 40!
Lynn said…
Oh my lands, my head just about fell off because I was nodding so much while reading this post (and smirking, while trying to hold in the giggles, because my husband is trying to watch the Tour De France, and I'm trying not to be distracting).

But seriously, I am EXACTLY like you, and my oldest is EXACTLY like Angus. I used to fear that I would be pouring his juice until he was 20 years old but just recently, my six year old daughter started to do it FOR HIM. He still can't work the TV remote because I've always just done it for him. THE TV. Now if that isn't motivation, I don't know what is.

He'll surely have to live with us until he gets married, then some poor woman will be saddled with his care as if he's a 90 year old. SERIOUSLY, MOTHERING FAIL.

Also, just about died at your description of your fridge, are you sure it wasn't MY fridge?

Let me know if you get Angus to make his own sandwiches, I need a mentor.
Bridget said…
I find myself doing this at times, and have to remind myself to back away and let him do it. It's tough, though :-0
Gwen said…
Really, I blame the children.

They get stuck in the back of the chair, fall down the stairs, water everything BUT the garden,and put their shoes on the wrong feet (and not even care). How am I supposed to trust them with making a sandwich? I can't even trust them not to cut their clothes "accidentally" while making a craft, or to prevent their arms from "accidentally" whacking their siblings. We need to work our way up to knives. Baby steps.
Betsy B. Honest said…
Ha! I'm exactly opposite. I hand my babies whole oranges and T-bone steaks and let them figure it out. They make tremendous messes and I get occasionally askance looks from people when they are hurling rice about while I daintily sip my Mei Tei, not giving a crap. I'm only ever mortified if we dine someplace without a dog under the kitchen table.

By the time they are 5, they are very tidy and compotent independent eaters. Of course, this is quite theoretical as only one of them is 5 yet. But she's a tidy eater!
Betsy B. Honest said…
Also they've always tended to scream "mine!mine!" and "me do it!" at me a lot when I try to interfere so....

I'm happy to read this post and the comments because I sometimes wonder if I shouldn't be more like those more meticulous moms who carry very finely cut fruit in tupperware around with them. I usually have a babybel in my pocket and my one-year old won't let me remove the packaging for her. She prefers to bite her way through to the cheese. If I unwrap it for her she feels cheated and throws it at the dog.

My long meandering point here is I never really considered that it is clearly their personalities driving this and not my lazy-ass momness.
Nicole said…
Why DO they make macaroni and cheese loaf anyway?
Pam said…
Hello me. Pass me that knife and fork when you're done and I'll do the same. lol! Being an enabler is so much fun. And who the heck buys mac and cheese loaf really?!
Julie said…
hello. my name is julie. and i am a perfectionist enabler. it's been three hours since i enabled my child. good thing i am at work or it would only have been a few mintues.

talk to me in 20 years when my mama's boy is sitting in my living room yelling at me for not being able to find the love of his life.

I forgot all about macaroni and cheese loaf. They don't sell that in my grocery store deli...probably because everyone in town realizes that that stuff is horrifying. It would go well with tomato aspic with shredded carrot pieces floating in the gelatin. Man, if I ever warped back to the 50s, 60s, 70s, I'm not sure what I would eat...spray cheese perhaps.
clara said…
Yeah that's my fridge too...except once every few months when my husband decides to CLEAN IT OUT. It's exciting when he does that but you have to stay out of his way.

It's funny how you just keep doing things the same way for years and years and years. That's why vacations away from the kids are so important..when you come back you see them as 11 instead of 2. (in theory. I haven't had one)(a vacation)(sigh)
Amber Strocel said…
Isn't that what a fridge is SUPPOSED to look like? Really? Anything less would be an indication that you might not have enough food to survive a blizzard or something.

Not that I've ever lived through a blizzard, what with living in Vancouver and all. But if we get one, who will be laughing while everyone else is forced to subsist on pickles and canned beans that they purchased 4 years ago and never ate? That would be me.
SuziCate said…
I have to ask what is macaroni and cheese loaf? Trust me, Angus will be just fine...I was overbearing and controling and fortunately mine turned out ok. The only problem is that they will still sometimes play it up and act stupid and the real reason is they're being lazy!
Most people don't know that the dinosaurs became extinct not because of an asteroid colliding with Earth, but because a ten-year-old dinosaur boy spilled Hawaiian Punch on the carpet. True story.
Anonymous said…
Oh yes, the fridge in the hands of my "no I'll do it myself" 4 year old is an avalanche every time. My husband also can't navigate it. So much easier for me to do it than to clean up the mess.
Finola said…
Ahem, I am guilty as well. If it weren't for my DH, my kids would not know how to get dressed in the morning, let alone brush their teeth or ride a bike. It takes so much longer to teach them, and it does make much more of a mess, and many days I just don't have the patience. Thank goodness I married a man with endless patience.
Oh man, I always need to clear out my fridge. It doesn't matter if I only did it yesterday, it still needs tidying.

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