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<p>My son is 19 months and is a super messy eater still.  I don't mean the odd spill or dribble down the shirt, I mean a change of clothes, complete wipe down (if not a bath), scrubbing the table, scrubbing the chair, and sweeping (if not mopping) the kitchen. Every meal. I'm getting pretty tired of this.</p>
<p>My daughter was able to feed her self quite neatly by 15 months. I know they're individuals, so I shouldn't really compare them, but I'm starting to wonder if I can hope that he'll get to be a neater eater pretty soon? I'm not really worried about his general development. He sat up, walked, and talked pretty early.<br></p>
 

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<p>My daughter is 27 months and can still make a pretty big mess at mealtimes. If she goes slow and really thinks about what she's doing, she does great. The mess comes when she gets frustrated with how long it takes for her to get the spoon/fork to her mouth without spilling and starts to rush through it. Sometimes she'll even abandon her utensil and start using her hands, which makes an even bigger mess. I try to sit with her while she eats and get her to eat as much as possible with her spoon, but she rarely makes it through a whole meal without spilling or dropping food. I just figure the more she practices, the better she'll get and soon she'll be able to feed herself a lot faster without being messy.</p>
 

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For my kids, the total-mess scenario ended slowly, between about 2 1/2 and 3 1/2. The twins are 3 1/2 now, and unless the meal is something really sloppy, they usually only need a face-wash afterwards. We get the odd spot on clothes, or something, but not like it used to be.<br><br>
In the second year-- for all my kids, eating was a total body experience. Often it wasn't just them that needed cleaning-- it was the walls, and the chairs, and the floor, and the cat even a few times. I think that when they turned 2, it was often still like that. I have hilarious spaghetti-dinner pictures of DD1 that I know were taken at 2 1/2, because it was the night before my twins were born.<br><br>
Even at five, my DD1 was still getting spots on her clothes and needed her face washed. At six, she's finally able to eat about as neatly as an adult does, which is a real relief to me.
 

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<p>Ds is a pretty neat eater now. If we are having something messy like spaghetti he will need his face washed & shirt changed but otherwise I don't even need to wash his face after most meals. Now if we leave him too long in the highchair he can make a spectacular mess - but we usually finish up the meal when he starts to play with his food.</p>
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<p>As for the floor - well, we have dogs so I really am surprised at how much ends up on the floor when we eat elsewhere - but that is improving as well.</p>
 

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<p>My 2.5 y/o is just FINALLY not as much of a mess after meals.  Thank goodness.  There are still times that he deliberately smears food on himself or the table, but when he's actually eating, he's pretty clean. Sometimes applesauce or yogurt ends up on his shirt or pants, but for the most part, he's doing well.</p>
 

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<p>DS is also 19m old, and has always been a pretty clean eater. If something falls off the fork, he will get it, and 90% of it ends up in, not on his mouth :) I still have to wipe his face and hands, but I also have to bring DH napkins and remind him to wipe his face and hands. I think DH saves food in his beard <span><img alt="yummy.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/yummy.gif"></span></p>
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<p>We do give him things that he is capable of eating. Like little raviolis or macaroni. Cereal or granola bars, crackers, chunks of squash or other veggis etc. Finger foods mostly. Trying to feed a kid spaghetti with the sauce on it is asking for disaster. :D it just flops all over, flinging its sauce to every corner of the room. Plus he's never been able to handle meat. We thought he ate a chicken nugget once, but I made chicken nuggets and he couldn't eat them. Maybe it was because they weren't all processed and prechewed like!</p>
 
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