Playing Catch Up

Posted on | December 30, 2010 | 6 Comments

There are three words that I have learned to despise when they appear at the start of any sentence in any conversation. Those three words?

“Does your son…”

Or, in the alternative “does your kid” or “Does J” or whatever… you get the picture. The reason I hate them? I am never prepared. Take, for example, a facebook status that appeared in my feed yesterday. In it, a well-meaning mother asked for advice on how to teach her children to use silverware. I thought it was a great question since our kids are around the same age and told her to share the advice she gets. Only I wasn’t prepared for the actual advice. It seems that other parents, namely not me, have been plodding away at teaching their children how to use spoons and forks and knives.(and hell, probably potty training them at age one and teaching them the periodic table for all I know.)

Meanwhile, I’m still teaching J where his mouth is and how to insert food, close mouth, chew and swallow. It’s the swallowing that troubles him most. He’d prefer to store it away in his chubby little cheeks for some cold day in February when maybe we’ll forget to feed him. But silverware? No. Silverware is for big kids. Silverware is for children that say “Please and thank you” not “peas and Tak-oo.” I mean, I give J a spoon sometimes, but more often than not, I just put his food on his tray and let him have at it. Is that bad? Am I supposed to be portioning it out onto little plates, tying his napkin around his neck and teaching him to swish his milk before spitting it to check for flavor?

I’ve tried the suction cup bowls. People? There is not enough suction in those cups. Without resorting to cementing the bowl onto his tray, there is NOTHING that will keep a bowl, cup, plate or spoon fastened down when J is in the room. He looks at the suction cups as a challenge.  I can see what he’s thinking.  He looks at the bowl and then back at me and suddenly we’re in a really bad over-dubbed Japanese movie:  “Ah ha! You thought you’d fool me, mama! Ah ha! I will pull this up and… HIYA! Your suction is no match for me.”

So you can see why silverware seems like a lost cause. Maybe by the time J grows up, we’ll have all  moved past silverware and everything will be eaten by either fingers or straws. That’s what I’m banking on because he’s got straws down pat.


6 Responses to “Playing Catch Up”

  1. Elizabeth
    December 30th, 2010 @ 2:12 am

    Repeat after me the following phrases:
    1. I will NOT be the Mommy who compares her kid to other kids.
    2. If I don’t get around to it, it’s my daughter-in-law’s problem.

    As a side note, Gracie likes to hold a spoon in one hand while shoving food in her mouth with the other. Also, for what it is worth, the books say don’t worry about proper use of silverware until age 2. Just get some of those kiddy ones and make them available. At some point, after seeing M & D use them for the billionth time, he’ll pick them up.
    And take note of birth order and gender. Boys typically take longer in terms of small motor skills and first borns take longer because their Mom’s worry too much (seriously. I cut up H’s bananas into tiny slivers for fear of choking. G eats hers whole.) By the second kid, you won’t remember where the books are and won’t have time to read them, which is okay because your first born will do most of the parenting…

  2. Momalegal
    December 30th, 2010 @ 2:12 am

    My kid only learned how to use utensils because they did it at daycare and apparently he’ll listen to them before he’ll listen to me. Also? He’s 3 years & 3 mos. old and I am still constantly reminding him to use a utensil. Clearly I am the wrong person to take advice from in this area. 🙂 (PS: mine said “Peas” and “Day-doo” So cute you could die.)

  3. Caroline
    December 30th, 2010 @ 1:17 pm

    Seriously, don’t stress it. There is no “supposed to” time-wise when it comes to raising your kid. When J starts showing interest and you think he’s ready, then you introduce silverware. I think a lot of parents have a LOT of anxiety that is so not necessary because they try to introduce things too soon – before their child is either mentally or motor-skills-wise ready for it. Particularly potty training. Having worked in day care for many years, I can tell you – each child develops at his or her own pace and no pace is better than the other. It just is what it is. I’m certainly not going to cause myself a lot of unnecessary stress trying to convince my kid to use silverware and a plate yet.

  4. Caroline
    December 30th, 2010 @ 1:20 pm

    Oh! And I completely forgot to say, if your child is really storing his food in his cheeks and not swallowing, get the doctor to check for a tongue thrust. It’s not a big deal; just makes it harder to swallow. Most kids outgrow it – about a tenth don’t. I never did and my parents didn’t know it until I was nine. They just thought I was being stubborn about not swallowing meat and pills, when in actuality I couldn’t. (Or rather, I had to learn alternate ways to do it…)

  5. kim
    December 30th, 2010 @ 4:06 pm

    How old is J now? 14, 15 months? My kids were so not using utensils at that age. Or bowls. Bowls = spills = more cleaning = one unhappy mom. I MIGHT have started giving them one of those safey spoons to hold just so they got the idea that a spoon was for feeding themselves, but in no way did I expect them to actually use it. Then of course, they would use it way sooner then I’d expect, only to never use it again for like weeks and weeks. But it did introduce the purpose. They’d start putting the food on the spoon w/ their hands, then attempting to put it in their mouth, imitating us. Beyond cute. But to be worried b/c J isn’t actually using utensils? Relax. (I have 3 kids, and my a degree in Special Ed, elementary Ed, and a minor in Child Development. And my youngest had some slight delays. So really. Relax.)

  6. Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli
    December 31st, 2010 @ 12:44 am

    A spork is a perfectly acceptable utensil. So are hands, provided they are washed.

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