Thalia is nearing seven months, which will mean almost two months at working on the solids. Finally just in the past week we had a breakthrough with her understanding the process, so now we’ve nearly achieved the “baby bird” stage where she just sits there and opens her mouth for more and more food.
The troubles with the right hand started early. Every bite of food we gave her would be accompanied by her stuffing her pudgy little fist in her mouth, often with a portion of her bib thrown in for good measure. We couldn’t figure out why she’d want a finger or two in her mouth whenever she was getting food. Her hand would get filthy, her clothes frequently ruined, and she’d get very low throughput of food into mouth. This would make her very unhappy and fussy, leading to abbreviated meals and thrown-away food.
I observed in one feeding a few weeks back that she was doing more than stuffing her hand in her mouth. She would put her right hand on the tray, sweep her fingers on the tray (as if you were sweeping up some crumbs towards you with the tips of your fingers), and then after that move her hand up to her mouth. At one meal she did this for every spoonful I gave her. The only explanation I could come up with was that she was mimicking what she’s seen the rest of us do, going through the motions of picking up food off her plate (let’s just say, we struggled mightily some meals to get Siena to use her utensils). This process was complicated by the fact that depending on how she analyzed cause and effect, it might have seemed to her that whenever her hand went into her mouth, she got food, even when these two were concurrently if not causally related. After that, I have held back the spoon from her mouth whenever her hand starts motioning towards it in an attempt to disassociate the concept of food from hand. But still we faced the battle nightly of trying to jam food into her before she’d have a melt-down, all the while working around that darned fist.
The very smart teachers at day care just gave her a toy to occupy her right hand, and have had very little trouble feeding her.
Now in this week, she seems to have realized that the hand only gets in the way. Maybe the right synapses have fused, maybe she’s just too hungry to let the hand be a deterrent to food flow. Regardless, she can get through almost an entire meal with both hands down at her sides and just opening and closing that little mouth to take in whatever food we can stuff in there. We call it the baby bird stage, as it’s just open and close, open and close, more more more of whatever we can give her.
Well, more of whatever except for peas. She can’t stand those.