One of the fascinating things about watching RPGBaby learn is realizing just how much we take for granted about even the most basic skills. Take eating (but don’t you dare take my food). I’ve written before how even breast feeding is not wholly instinctive in humans but must be developed. I realized spoon feeding would be much the same, but did not understand how elaborate the steps could be.
It began with RPGBaby copying our eating habits at mealtime. Let’s hope she copies RPGMom’s table manners more than she does RPGDad’s, and takes at least 10 years to realize Cheetos are a food group. We gave RPGBaby a little wooden spoon and she had a wonderful time poking herself in the eye with it.
When she recently graduated to eating foods other than milk (yummy baby purée!), we used that spoon to feed her avocado, spinach, avocado-spinach (really), regurgitated broccoli and so on. Well, with us expertly maneuvering that utensil, the food:
- Started on the spoon,
- Went to her chin,
- Went back to the spoon,
- Went to her cheek,
- Went to our fingers,
- Went into her mouth,
- Went back out and onto the bib,
- Back onto our fingers, and
- Finally into her mouth and down her gullet.
When we reduced that process to only seven steps, we began letting her feed herself. This is where the true intricacy of the process revealed itself. RPGBaby had already learned how to handle a spoon, and the goal thereof. Thus we merely added food to the spoon. She took a firm grip of the handle. Skillfully and confidently she guided the spoon … right into her chin.
Much to her credit, she immediately realized her mistake, righted herself and drove the spoon right back into her chin. On the third try, she finally got it past her chin … and onto her cheek. With a little guidance, however, she soon had the incoming delivery down pat … but not the food offloading.
We are used to maneuvering a spoon along a single plane. Scoop up food, raise to mouth, dump into piehole. Baby, on the other hand, made the more logical motion of, “take spoon, bend elbow, shove spoon in mouth, gum it ineffectually, and remove from mouth with food intact.”
Rather than try to make her adopt our admittedly convoluted food delivery methodology, we handed the spoon to her backward, and let her treat it like a lollipop. This worked much more effectively, since boiling soup is not on her menu until at least her seventh month (and first visit from child welfare).
Even after she started with such a low chance to hit, it was wonderful to see her go from no chance of success to a multicolored mess.
If you want to see one of her first (dubious) experiences with adult foods, you can go https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rONzVel7PuM