Friday, January 12, 2007

Gaining More Independence

Laurel sits in her highchair, mouth wide open like a baby bird, waiting for the next spoonful of oatmeal. She closes her mouth around the spoon, and then grabs the handle. The twinkle in her eye tells me she's up to something.

Gently, I unclench her fingers and pull the spoon out of her mouth, then scoop up more oatmeal. Wide, open mouth ready, in goes the spoon. Her mouth clamps down tight, and again her fingers put a death grip onto the handle. "Baby, do you want to feed yourself?" I inquire, and let go of the spoon to watch what unfolds.

A smile creeps across her face as oatmeal oozes out of the corners of her semi-opened mouth. Slowly, she pulls the spoon out and examines it. Most of the oatmeal is still on and now dripping onto her tray. She puts it back into her mouth, and this time keeps her lips closed. There's an "Aha!" look in her eyes as she takes out a clean spoon.

Laurel celebrates her accomplishment by banging the spoon on her tray. Soon her eyes look over at the cup of oatmeal I'm holding. She points the spoon in the same direction. I try to take the spoon from her, but she's not having any part of that. She forcefully pulls the spoon away and again points it at the oatmeal. "Oh, so you're a big girl and want to do it all," I joke.

Laurel smiles at me, bangs her spoon a couple more times and points it directly at the cup of oatmeal. It's like she's smirking at me and saying, "Ha, funny mom, now give me the d*** oatmeal."

I do her bidding and bring the cup closer to her and tip it a bit so she can reach the spoon inside. Laurel cackles (seriously, cackling is her trademark!) as she dips into the oatmeal. She pulls the spoon out and examines it to make sure that indeed something is on it. Into the mouth it goes. Success! On second try, she holds the spoon upside down. All but a coating of the oatmeal falls onto her tray and bib. Upon seeing the oatmeal laying there, Laurel decides it's time for art, and spreads it with her spoon.

"Laurel, would you like some more oatmeal?" I ask and jiggle the cup in front of her.

She is too absorbed in her artwork to be busied with feeding herself. I know better than to try and take the spoon away from her. I grab another spoon from the utensil drawer and begin shoveling the remaining oatmeal into her gob. To my delight I find she can multi task. She happily paints away and opens her mouth as the spoon approaches. Within a minute, she finishes her remaining cereal, and manages to coat the tray, her face and hair with oatmeal. Time to take her and the highchair outside to hose everything off.

And book recommendation month continues...

A series of books our family adores, are the bear books by Karma Wilson. We introduced Ian to her first book, Bear Snores On, when he was about six months old. The story depicts a bear sleeping in his den for the winter. Animals find refuge there and start having a party, when suddenly, Bear wakes up! Ian loved it from the beginning. Laurel just now has the attention span to sit through most of the book and enjoy it.

Also in the bear series, are Bear Wants More, and Bear Stays Up for Christmas. All three stories are told in rhyme, and done so well that Paul and I, even Ian, can pretty much recite them word for word. Wilson uses wonderful verbs in depicting her tales, great for vocabulary development! One of my favorite passages from Bear Snores On:


*When looking for pictures of the books online, I discovered there is a fourth in the series, Bear's New Friend. I have not read it yet, but plan to check it out at the library.


Kellie said...

Send Laurel over here to teach Morgan some of that independence when eating from a spoon. I try...she wants nothing to do with it but, will happily use her hands to shovel in finger foods!!

Elizabeth said...

Yes! more bear... fantastic! We got "Bear stays up" for Christmas and I hadn't seen them before. I love the artwork! Good job, Laurel! Hunter looves his oatmeal, too!!

Lady M said...

When Q has his hands covered with food, we've learned not to mention the words, "hat, head, or hair." Otherwise, he touches his hair and gets gunk all over!

Much More Than A Mom said...

Heh. We're at the same stage, but Rylan's not quite as good as Laurel yet. He's trying though!

I have all of those books and so many more because we do a bear unit in my classroom each November. They're awesome. Sleepy Bear by Mem Fox is another great one. You used to be able to hear her read it on her website. If it's still there, your kids would love it!

Damselfly said...

Oh, what a smart girl!

(I wondered if a hose would have to be employed to clean a high chair at some point. So thanks for sharing this!)

And thanks for more book suggestions. The bear books sound like a lot of fun, and our fam is planning on a trip to the bookstore tonight.