March 16, 2010

The Spoon Strike

A few weeks ago, Moe stopped eating certain foods. At first, I didn't think much of it. I just thought he was tired of those foods or didn't feel like eating them. This happens: one day macaroni & cheese is in, and the next day it's out.

After a week or so, though, it dawned on me that it was only particular foods that Moe wasn't eating, specifically, anything that required a spoon. He wasn't tired of the foods; if I fed him, he would eat them. My first reaction was (of course) worry. Did he suddenly regress? Had he lost the ability to use a spoon? After Jeff talked me down, I was pretty sure that wasn't it.

Moe has been working on a number of new skills, he's using more sign language, walking up and down the patio steps without assistancec and climbing the rails of his crib (in quite a frightening manner, I might add). So my second thought was that maybe he was working on other skills. Perhaps using a spoon was more challenging than I had realized, and he didn't want to make the effort with so many other things going on. But I could get Moe to use the spoon mostly by himself if I had even the slightest bit of my hand touching his. And Moe has been using a spoon for a year. So I didn't think it was too hard for him. What then?

I knew Moe didn't dislike the foods, and I knew Moe still had the ability to use the spoon. I figured I would just put some really, really yummy foods in front of him, help him out with a bite or two and then let him realize that he could eat it on his own or not at all. Seemed like a good plan. Five minutes later there was chocolate pudding on the walls.

I went to our Occupational Therapist for advice. We looked at his spoons, came up with theories about the bumps on the handles, metal versus plastic, long versus short handles. I experimented, but nothing seemed to matter.

It took a couple of weeks, but I think I've finally figured it out. I always give Moe and Jelly Belly meals together, and of course, I feed Jelly with a spoon. Moe sees this, and although he's never outright protested, I think he's jealous. He has actually shown some other signs of jealousy lately, pulling on me when I'm paying attention to Jelly Belly, and getting pretty frustrated when she tries to take his toys (which is always). Although I don't want them to fight, I'm thrilled to see these very developmentally appropriate emotions from Moe.

The other day, I gave Moe some chocolate pudding. Jelly had already eaten, and we were having a webcam chat with the grandparents. Without a second thought, he ate it all up. I think he was too distracted to realize he wasn't supposed to eat it. Now that I think we have a cause, I'm not quite sure how to fix this. I'm going to try to feed the kids separately for a while and see if that helps. Most likely, in time, this will just resolve itself.

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