So. Turns out there are a gazillion things you have to learn from scratch as a baby. Who knew? And even when you watch people around you do exactly what you need to learn, that doesn’t mean you can magically do it yourself. Sad, true. While walking is clearly a milestone (and seems like there is a switch that’s flipped once you can “DO” it), feeding yourself is an ongoing training program filled with obstacles and complex skills to master.
I say this even as we just had our first real FALL and head ouchie on Friday from the walking thing, so I guess there are some obstacles to that skill, too ;) Anyway, back to eating. Starts with breastfeeding/bottles. Moves to “solid foods” which is basically mush that you squeeze into them however you can. Moves on to more solid solids that both you feed them and they begin to shove in their mouths with their hands. Little things like peas or finely chopped fruits, small bites of yummy things like bread/pasta/meatballs/veggies, etc – according to our pediatrician, “smaller than a kernel of corn” is best.
Surprisingly, though pasta is a common kid-favorite (and an unlikely choking item – woo hoo!), eating noodles is a lot more difficult than it seems. Finding the right length of noodle is one thing (we’ve been experimenting), then teaching kids to get the whole thing in their mouths through slurping or shoving or whatever works is another. See for yourself.
There are other things to consider, too. Let me tell you, there are a thousand bowl, plate, sippy cup, fork, spoon and so on options out there. Literally. Which I suppose is good since, in theory, babies do learn to use things like utensils (yes, I know, some of us never get great at those), and the bowl/plate/tabletop you provide them has an impact on how easily they can pick up the scooping skill. What I don’t have a video of (but it’s funny) is Zoe testing out the spoon.
Think about it from a brand-new-to-this perspective. Then it might make sense to turn the spoon upside down on the way to your mouth so your tongue and bottom lip can ensure you don’t miss a drop of food from that spoon. Makes more sense than keeping the scoop side up, really, but sadly, spoons don’t work like that – or I should say gravity doesn’t work like that. So we bought her a “plate” and utensils that are supposed to make this thing easy. Seriously, it says so right in the description. And by the way, I like them (and she does, too), but what they don’t include in the product videos is this one:
Clearly holding the spoon IS easy – fits right in her hand like they said. USING the spoon, less easy (and less interesting to bother to figure out when you’re hungry). We’ll keep trying, since we don’t have a lot of grownup friends who don’t know how to use utensils – I’m thinking that’s a sign she’ll need that skill if she wants to have friends. And friends are good to have.
As I’m typing, Bart’s feeding Zoe in the background. Here are some quotes (fill in your own mental images)…
“That doesn’t go in your nose”
“That’s not a hat, that’s food. It goes in your mouth”