Hand-to-mouth

Prince Keegan likes having servants. Not a picky eater, he’’ll eat enchiladas, lasagna, stew, casseroles, and almost anything I cook, BUT he insists it be on a spoon.

For months, when we tried to feed him with our fingers, he’d turn his head. It simply wasn’’t FOOD to him if it wasn’’t spoon fed. As to picking up the offensive stuff with his own fingers, that was too far beneath “his majesty” for consideration! Birthday cake had been fun to mash and play with, but actually put it in his mouth? Of course not! (Although he did eat a few bites we fed to him… on a spoon.) We tried Cherrios, Rice Krispies, bits of bread, peas, even pancake. All the stuff that most babies eat at 6 months old. Nope. Not food. Not unless it was spoon fed.

Last month we decided he’d been catered to long enough. We began holding his head still while putting a morsel in with our fingers. We’’d give him a bite with the spoon, then require a bite from the fingers. Even though it was the very same delicacies he’d greedily gobble from the spoon, if it came from the hand, head turned and back arched, he’d communicate his displeasure.

We decided that before ever meal he’d need to eat a few Rice Krispies from our hand. Those 10 Rice Krispies would be put in his mouth over and over until swallowed before we would spoon feed him whatever we were eating. He always got his spoon-food, and the Rice Krispy struggle only took a few minutes of the meal, but it was wearying.

Several times, once we got the bite in, he tried spitting it out. Spitting things out is unacceptable behavior for a little gentleman, and he gave up that tactic quickly. Still, for each “hand fed” bite, we’d have to hold his head still.

After a few days he’d turn his head away from the hand-offered food, as though objecting just on principle, but then he’d turn back again with his mouth open. Each time he’d first turn away, but then, as an afterthought, open his mouth and accept.

Yesterday I hand fed him a full slice of Swiss cheese. After turning his head for the first bite, he willingly allowed me to administer the rest without the customary refusal ritual. We were certainly making progress!

Today, I hand fed him half the slice of cheese, then tore the other half into bits and put them on his tray. At first he looked at me like I was out of my mind–expecting him to sully his own little hand by touching his food! Finally though, he picked up a piece, and… ate it!

He ate piece after piece, only dropping a few. (The dog had positioned himself strategically under Keegan’s chair) Toward the end I snuck a few bits of freshly baked bread on his tray, and he ate those too!

With all four children still requiring their food cut up, it will be nice that he can help himself with a few finger foods now! (Although most things will still need to be spoon fed.)

Perhaps, he will even get the notion to walk?

The dichotomy of motherhood: enjoying the moment, while helping them reach upward to the next step.

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3 thoughts on “Hand-to-mouth

  1. Isn’t amazing the little “quirks” that emerge at such a young age. We went through a similiar situation with Aaron. In fact, we are still battling it to some degree…he refuses to eat unless it’s on a fork. At 15 months he feeds himself, so at least I’m not having to battle with him to take it in other form. However, have you ever seen someone try and eat soup or applesauce with a fork?

  2. LOL @ the soup with a fork. Actually, I have seen my girls eat applesauce with a fork a few times, but soup? LOL!

    I bet you’ve started making your soup THICK!

  3. I have enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to reading more of it. I also want to thank you for the friends updated post trick. Very neat.
    I am adding you to my friends so that I can read your blog more often.
    Children are wonderful!
    B.

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