One big difference between my two children is their tolerance for messiness. Any kind at all, to any degree. It is most evident at mealtime.
Tucker is a little high maintenance. It was very easy to teach him to use a spoon and fork, because he was most thankful to have an alternative to messy hands. He still hates to get food on his fingers, and if it lands there, everything stops. With great hand motions, he laments, "Oh, no! Mommy! Mess!" And I come running,with my washcloth. I have encouraged him to try licking it off, but that is out of the question.
Ironically, he also cannot handle any food remnants on his fork. It's permissible if it's on its way to his mouth, but otherwise, immediately after his bite, his fork must be clean. Again, he will hand it to me. "Oh, no! Mommy! Mess!" And I must wipe it off.
Again, I've encouraged him to try licking it off, and I have even tried to explain that this is indeed what forks are for. He will have none of it. Clean it, please.
On the other hand, his brother Tyler would bathe in ravioli if I would permit it. He welcomes the goo, the mess, the crumbs, the yuck. He has no interest in a spoon, because it's much easier to dip his fist into the yogurt cup and then lick his hand like an ice cream cone.
Meals are highly eventful. And when it's said and done, I often feel like I need a bath as badly as they do.