Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Orion's Highchair Adventures: Learning to Eat With a Spoon

2m 30secs

Orion's Spoon Experiences
Orion knows the spoon very well as he's been eating off it for almost a year now.  In April 2011, right after Thomas' retina detachment/vitrectomy, Orion's Uncle stuck the spoon in his hand, already near his mouth.  Orion pulled it to his mouth. That was the feeding mode between Orion and Uncle while mine was tapping his cheek and Dad's was a pat on his chest.  I have occasionally put the spoon in his hand, only touching the palm and no holding his wrist or hand with my other hand, he'd either quickly put it in his mouth or withdraw his hand.

Apparently Orion did not realize he can or should do it under his own power until recently.  He's been eating with his hands and other times when it's jarred baby food, it's off the spoon.  After enjoying reviewing  Perkins' webcasts, especially one by Barbara Miles, I realized the practice of teaching/showing him things using hand-under-hand method had faded away from me. So I got proactive late last week and I would say during his 2nd session at the highchair, he picked up the spoon off the tray.  (The spoon has always been pre-loaded with food.) I've always thought he was awesome but he still surprises me from time to time.

Um, maybe Orion was just waiting for Mom to finally show him?

On Sunday night, Skyler wanted to give Orion crackers. I told Skyler to tap the back of Orion's hand and give him the cracker underneath to the palm of his hand.  Orion took over from there and Skyler was thrilled.  Skyler declared he will from now on sit with Orion and feed him.  Skyler loves to get a little rough tickling his little brother or lay down and fall asleep next to him if he's on the soft mat in the TV room.  I'm glad Skyler had this feeding experience to increase his bond with his little brother, a different kind of interaction where Orion has better participation in than being tickled silly. 

The Equipment
We have several fat-handled spoons designed for easier grip for little hands.  The spoon used in the video had a wide bowl but a skinny, flat handle.  Just yesterday, a mommy friend passed on some more toddler utensils to us and one of them had a spiral/ribbed handle.  Orion enjoyed nibbling/feeling it.  The only thing with this ribbed spoon handle is that I can't imagine he'd know what angle the spoon is turned since it's round all the way opposed to a flat handled spoon.  With the latter, as it is comfortably held, the spoon angle is either right-side up or not.  I will watch this and see if it is me over-thinking things.  :)  (We stopped using infant spoons several months ago, switched over to wider infant or toddler spoons without objections from Orion.)

Orion has been open to eating more table food.  For dinner on Monday night, eating with his hands, Orion ate avocado slices! (Much to Skyler's disgust.) He also ate ground beef and yellow rice.  We did offer him avocado and ground beef a long time before and he wasn't interested.  This shows, just like any other kid, some foods need to be reintroduced or for the kid to get accustomed to its taste/smell.  (Tho, my parents probably will tell you it didn't work out for me and any type of tomato!)

What's next?
We'll continue with Orion using his hands to pick up food along with his new-found skill in picking up the spoon and then somehow teach him how to load his spoon using hand-under-hand.  Lori, his occupational therapist at Kendall School, recommended mashed potatoes.  They stay on the spoon well.  Perfect! Orion enjoys the mashed sweet potato I occasionally nuke in the microwave for him.

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