Transition woes

I feel like the worst mother in the world. But I know that I’m not.

As of Wednesday, Baby C is now 11 months old. This means, at school, that he will begin the transitioning process to the Yearling (Toddler) class in two weeks.

Here’s the list of things he needs to have accomplished before they can accept him in the Toddler class:

  • Must be able to feed himself
  • Must be able to walk well
  • Must be able to understand directions
  • Must be able to drink from sippy cup
  • Must be able to eat table food

The first, he can do… sort of. He’s not fond of utensils, save for throwing them and banging them on the table or high chair tray. But he’s a pro at feeding himself rice cakes, oyster crackers, Chex cereal, and other small bits of food.

Check.

The second, he’s not so proficient at doing. Let’s face it: the kid just started crawling a month ago. He’s very good at crawling and is quite mobile, but aside from his attempts at cruising (he does very well until he wants to grab a hold of something else), he’s not a walker. Yet.

So, no check… yet.

The third, he can do, though he doesn’t always obey. The other day, his teachers were telling him to be nice and give me a hug (he was very mad at me; I had attacked him that morning with the saline spray and the evil green suction bulb), and rather than going to me, he stood (sat) his ground and started to cry out of frustration instead.

So, check.

The fourth, I’ve been working with him on this since December. Let’s face it: he’s not overly crazy about sippy cups. This morning, though, he successfully drank four ounces of milk from his sippy cup (he had a very dry breakfast of Rice Chex), so we might be making progress there.

So, no check… yet.

As for the fifth, I’m happy to report that he had his very first completely grown-up meal yesterday: half of a quesadilla (courtesy of Dad), green beans, a little water (from a sippy cup), and milk (okay, the milk wasn’t exactly grown-up food). More importantly, he fed himself the quesadilla, though I had to help him with the green beans. The thing is, I took a copy of the school lunch menu, and there are a number of things on the menu that simply aren’t in his diet yet. Fish sticks? No. Salad? No. Beef stew? No. Tater tots or mashed potatoes? Fine, if you can get him to eat them – but he hates potatoes, so, no. Vanilla wafers and animal crackers? Definitely not.

So, while, yes, he can eat table food, I don’t like the table food they’re going to give him. But I’ll happily pack a cold/room temperature lunch for him each day. Does this mean he doesn’t get a check on this?

The worst part, though, is that one of the directors spoke with me at length yesterday about these benchmarks, and I felt this small after our talk. (Oh, and I was really late getting to work, too.) It’s not like I’m doing anything to impede his development – that’s the very last thing I would want to do! He needs to grow and learn and develop at his own pace, and if it means he’s not walking for another two or three months, so be it. (Though, I have a feeling that within a week after discovering he can walk, Baby C will figure out how to run.)

Starting next week, he’ll strictly be on a sippy cup at school (though I’ll provide empty bottles in case he’s completely refusing them – there’s no use in letting him get dehydrated), and I’m already scouring my cookbooks for table foods that I can make for him to eat. That’s the most I can do to help him transition. The rest is up to him.

And at this age, no amount of coaxing, begging, or bribing can make him do anything sooner than he’s ready to do. In another year, however…

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