“Ava! What the heck are you doing?!!?!” These were my words this morning at breakfast. Ava, having received half of a banana as part of her meal, had just managed to shove a 2″ piece into her mouth. Being of small stature, a 2″ piece of banana is quite a feat for Ava. She had to work pretty hard to get 2″ of banana in her mouth and it filled up every square inch leaving her unable to chew or swallow, which of course is the point of eating. Ava is learning to feed herself. She seems to have gotten the idea that the world is going to end at any second and thus needs to get as much food into her mouth as possible before the moment of implosion happens. Case in point, take yesterday at snack time:
It’s 3 pm and time for a snack. I have recently purchased a huge box of Cheerio’s from the grocery store… well, actually, it’s a huge box of “Oat O’s”, because “Oat O’s” were cheaper than Cheerio’s and we all know they are the same thing when you take away the fancy marketing. I laugh in the face of fancy marketing… hahahahaha. Anyway, my goal with the Cheerio’s, er, “Oat O’s”, is to help Ava develop her “pincher grasp” which is a fancy term for getting her to get food in her mouth with her pointer finger and thumb… you know, her pincher fingers. Ava has spent several weeks eating a rice rusk at snack time with great proficiency. (For those of you who don’t know what a rice rusk is… they’re weird and I don’t quite know the words to describe their strangeness.) The moment of Cheerio/”Oat O” introduction has come. I place a small handful of “Oat O’s” on the high chair tray. Ava has been waiting patiently. Her eyes light up. “Oh! Something new!” she seems to be saying. Using her pointer finger, she pokes at one of the “O’s”.
At this point, I’m feeling pretty proud of both myself and Ava. “Oh my child is brilliant!” I’m thinking. “Look at that, first introduction and she’s going to have this pincher grasp thing down.” And then my revelry dissipated. Ava, having investigated the “O’s” and found them to be interesting enough to continue capturing her attention, pounces. Immediately, her chubby little hands are filled with small “O’s” and she is shoving as many into her mouth as possible. She soon looks like an overgrown chipmunk storing up a stash for the long winter ahead. This is not going the way I had anticipated. There is no “pincher grasp” being practiced here, let alone any semblance of table manners which I was sure had been inbred in my child. Ava has so many “Oat O’s” in her mouth I’m forced to make her spit some out.
OK, lets try this again. “Ava, one at a time.” That will do it. Obviously I had not explained the process the first time. More “Oat O’s” are placed in front of Ava. Again, end-of-the-world mentality takes over and before I know it, her checks are protruding with the little O’s. At this point I’m beginning to fear for my daughter’s windpipe safety. The rest of snack time finds mama placing exactly two “Oat O’s” in front of Ava. Ava manages to get both O’s into her mouth, sogs them up enough to swallow and the process repeats.
We’re still working on the pincher grasp. I still think Ava is brilliant despite this minor setback.