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Table Manners

About two weeks ago, Simon picked up a brand new disgusting habit just in time to take him to fancy restaurants in Las Vegas.

I first noticed it at dinner one night, when Simon opened wide for his first bite, scraped the food off the spoon, and then promptly shoved his left index finger in his mouth as he gummed and swallowed his food. I couldn’t decide if he was using that finger as a crude, spoon-like implement to get food to the back of his mouth faster, or if he was trying to binge and purge at the same time. All I knew is that he did this with every bite. And that it produced a disgusting mess when he subsequently rubbed his dirty hands over the highchair tray, his face, and his clothes.

The next morning at breakfast, I hoped/assumed that this new habit would be forgotten. Nope. For each bite of oatmeal, Simon opened wide, took the food off the spoon, and then shoved at least one finger in his mouth. Matt tried swatting his hand away a few times to no avail. It was the same series of events repeated countless times:

  • Dad offers bite
  • Simon opens mouth
  • Simon inserts finger into mouth
  • Dad swats away finger
  • Dad offers bite
  • Simon opens mouth
  • Simon re-inserts finger into mouth

Over and over and over and over again. Sigh.

Every now and then, Simon would (briefly) forget his new trick, but never for more than a single meal.

So yesterday, I decided to test the theory that Simon was sick of only getting teething biscuits and a cup to play with and wanted to have a go at the spoon. (I stopped letting Simon have his own spoon a few weeks ago when he consistently threw it out of the high chair as part of his now favorite game: “Watch mommy pick up what I’ve tossed overboard.”) I was also prompted by an early morning delivery that required me to leave Simon alone in his highchair, something almost guaranteed to make him scream. Kiddo hates to be alone, even for a minute.

But there was DHL at my door, with a brand new keyboard for my laptop that I really needed. So, in a desperation move, I put some oatmeal on the spoon, laid the spoon on the highchair tray, and went to answer the front door. By the time I got back, Simon was holding the spoon, but the oatmeal was gone. He had managed to feed himself a bite. So I loaded up another spoon, and it was amazing to see how much better he had gotten in just a few weeks. Each time I laid the spoon on the tray, he picked it up, got it into his mouth (bowl down, perhaps, but still in his mouth), and ate a bite.

Now, I don’t think Simon did anything special here. At nearly 10 months, this is exactly what I’d expect him to be able to do. And yet, I can’t help be amazed. When I think that 9 months ago Simon had to be swaddled to keep from flailing and hitting himself in the face, and that now he can coordinate the use of his hands well enough to self feed with a spoon, it’s hard not to be amazed.

As he’s still not crawling or pulling up, it’s also reassuring to see fine motor skills staying on track. Yay Simon!

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