My son returns the stool to its proper place after using it to reach the sink. Oma and Grandpa's house.

My son likes things to be orderly. I do too, but I cut corners. For snack, I'll give him a bowl of rice with some broccoli on top. He removes the broccoli and places it on the table in a pile. He is satisfied. One pile of green vegetables. One pile of white rice. He might even pick a single floret that remains on a kernel of rice. 

I have realized that a lump of mixed food does not appeal to him. Tonight, I apportioned slices chicken, rice, corn, a Brussels sprout, and broccoli spears in separate sections of his monkey plate, as best I could, anyway.

When I was I child, I imagine I was the same way. There is lore of my requests to change clothes multiple times per day. "Mommy, there's a spot." While I loved to play dolls inside, I liked to make mud pies in the yard, collect black ants, and dig in the sand box. I must have made my mother crazy.

April broccoli served on a cutting board. Nothing but the finest presentation in our home. My son is 17 months old here.

Back in April, when my son had become very interested in solid foods, I might chop up some  chunks of broccoli and display it as above. He ate it readily, proudly sitting in Papa's seat. No babyish purees for this one. Dipping sauces were fine and so was drinking broth or pickle brine directly from the bowl. 

Food must be recognizable, preferably in the same format as his parents' food.  Chicken on the bone. Whole apples. Whole grapes and tomatoes. We cringed, monitored his food intake, probed his mouth for chunks we felt were too large. I worried we would give him a food-related complex. 

Another meal on the go - Beren chugs from an Activa single serving of yogurt in a Tecso parking lot Hungary. Tesco is a major box store chain.

We are fine however. He still ingests big globs of food sometimes. We still cringe when when packs his mouth with almond slices. He still ends many meals sitting on one of our laps. My pants often end the meal sloppier than my son's shirt somehow. We gasp when soup pours down his chin from the bowl but have also relaxed a lot.

Bread making with a 17 month old, also in April. 

My son really dislikes messy hands, so we make bread together. Our first bread making experience was fraught - a frazzled mother and a baby deeply concerned about the muck enveloping his hands. "Put you hands back in the bowl, back in the dough." Kneading makes him forget about the muck. Kneading keeps the flour from flying. It's good for both of us. Milk splashes on the floor. Flour is on our clothes. 

Jared walked in this evening as we kneaded. He turned to show him. "Dough in the bowl!" Beren began to cry. "Dough in the bowl!" He shrieked. He just wanted to show Papa. I still have some relaxing to do.