Montessori Baby

The author, trained as a Montessori primary teacher (AMI), documents and analyzes her efforts to raise a "Montessori" baby.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Spoon

It's a chilly Sunday morning and Alex and I are the only ones up. He sits happily on the kitchen floor while I measure the coffee and put away dishes. As I prepare my breakfast, I wonder, "Should I offer Alex something?" Deciding yes, I gather his bowl and spoon and mix a little cereal and applesauce.

We sit together at the table and I load up the little Gerber spoon with a decent-sized blob of cereal. It travels toward Alex's mouth and the left hand rises to meet it. "That's fine," I think as he grabs the handle, "we're almost there...if we can just...." But then it happens. Out of nowhere, the right hand swoops in and wraps itself squarely around the bowl of the spoon. Cereal oozes out from between his fingers just inches from his mouth. I utter an audible sigh.

This morning, Alex is not very interested in his cereal. In fact, after one or two unsuccessful bites, I end up rinsing out the bowl into the sink. I'm not sure that this is unfavorable compared to the alternative. When he is interested, the bowl empties, but at least half of it is spread over face, hands, highchair and clothes.

When I am frustrated by these two alternatives, I ask myself what I really want. Do I wish he would just sit there docilly while I shovel spoonful after spoonful into his open, waiting mouth? Though this would certainly be convenient in the moment, I would have no idea how long to keep at it. Would I eventually override the healthy feeding habits that demand breastfeeding has built in that he would eat until I said he was done or eat because it was mealtime instead of eating when he was hungry and stopping when he was full? Furthermore, would I be diminishing his motivation to do what I hope he will do one day soon - feed himself?

In the long run, then, I think I need to stop worrying about mess or waste and just enjoy Alex's spoon adventures knowing that eventually, these will help him to become a healthy, happy and independent eater.


At 10:59 PM, Anonymous Rebecca said...

He certainly looks happy and healthy. I gave up the spoon with my third child and now just let them feed themselves when they are interested, little bitesized fingerfoods on the tray and a tiny little cup for drinking.

At 3:30 PM, Blogger Mich said...

Hi there! I just found your blog through some sort of Montessori website that logs blogs....I'm
AMI primary trained too. The photo of your little guy on his floor bed is too sweet.

How old is Alex? Megan is 13 months. I'm looking forward to reading more! I've waxed poetic a few times about Montessori in different ways on my blog, but they certainly aren't as orderly as your posts.

Megan started REALLY getting into using a spoon just before her first birthday and now will only eat from a bowl if there's a utensil available. It's a riot!


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