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Independence day has arrived for our youngest daughter Alyssa.

At 16 months old she now wants to do some tasks herself that previously would require help from mum and dad.

The days are now gone when she would sit in her high chair and I’d pretend the spoon was an aeroplane with my best aeroplane-like sound effects as it was making its way towards her mouth.

I preferred my train sound effects but that wouldn’t make her laugh quite as much.

Now Alyssa wants to feed herself. But as I learnt when she was tucking into a bowl of spaghetti Bolognese, a survival plan needs to be put in place.

Firstly, if the food is likely to make a permanent mark on her clothes then she has to get changed into something more appropriate.

Secondly, food can be flung at great distances, so the high chair must be away from things such as the sofa and the dog. Ralph’s white coat didn’t look so good with pieces of spaghetti dangling from it.

And thirdly don’t serve Bolognese too often – it gets everywhere.