BB’s relationship with eating solids is complicated. When first introduced to any new or previous food (for that matter) he has a ritual. First, he will refuse to open his mouth, even a little bit, allowing no entry forcing apple sauce or blended banana to impact on the surface. However, after a bit and for no reason he will open is maw and if you manage to get the spoon in, will enjoy the food and swallow without incident. Needless to say the whole process takes a lot longer than it should and can be slightly stressful. For those keeping score at home sweet potatoes are his favorite, but he makes a crazy face when anything is too tart. The look of utter surprise on his face when tasting things like pear and mango for the first time is priceless. Thankfully, lately BB has switched teams to the ‘people who like food’ side. He opens his mouth and is excited to gobble down some goo. However, he still is picky when it comes to certain tastes and introducing new foods is still a slog. Of course I am now also remembering how boring it is to feed a baby, but BB doesn’t want me to fall asleep on the job so he will occasionally sneeze a whole bunch of mango-pear mush in my face, shirt and pants.
When LTD points at the bathroom and declares ‘paste’ he is announcing his desire to have someone get his toothbrush, wet it, put toothpaste on it and then give it to him. I know what you are thinking, why doesn’t he ask for ‘brush’? Well, the answer to that question is actually simple. He doesn’t really think of the toothbrush as a way to clean teeth rather for him it is merely a toothpaste delivery system. That’s right folks, the little guy just sucks down the strawberry flavored children’s toothpaste and when that is gone he sucks out the water leaving his teeth, brush free. The Mommy and I are then forced to treat him like the dog and brush his teeth the best we can.
The only bright side to our son not understanding the concept of the tooth brushing experience is that the Earth’s Best Toddler Toothpaste is pretty natural so when he swallows it, it isn’t really a big deal with the exception that his teeth never touch the stuff and therefore remain unclean. However, I will say there have been a few times when the light bulb goes on and does seem to get the brushing part down. And if he never does we can always move on to set number two in a few years.
As distraction has become a constant technique to keep LTD out of trouble, The Mommy and I have sought solutions wherever we find them. The other day the little guy was flipping out nicely on the changing table and I found a flashlight nearby to keep him occupied. For now and until he grows tired of it the flashlight has been a convenient weapon in our arsenal of things that keep the little guy from screaming uncontrollably. One of the reasons the flashlight was close by was that we were using it to look into his mouth when he was sick in order to determine if he was getting molars or had a red throat. The bad news was that we couldn’t really see anything but the good news was that now LTD thinks that the flashlight is a device to say Ahhh into, a behavior that keeps him busy for a little bit.
Lately, he has been using the flashlight more appropriately. He turns it on and off and looks at the spot created on the wall. The only downsides to his new love of flashlights is that he constantly clicks it on and off and the sound can be annoying and sometimes when he is done the constant clicking his last click happens to be in the on position which kills the batteries. His flashlight of choice is a small Energizer given to us by his grandpa. The little light is encased in hard rubber and designed to be rugged for outdoor use with the added benefit being it is LTD proof. I figured someday he would use a flashlight in bed to read comic books while staying up past his bedtime, but I am pleased he has discovered the magic torch at only 20 months.
As summer officially nears, we LTD has been eating new and exciting seasonal fruits. Long time readers who know of his affection for watermelon can now add Clementines to the list of items that get tossed in the little guy’s food hole. These small orange gems have one great thing going for them, they are seedless. My mom turned me on to clementines in my youth, she called them zipper skins because the peel comes off with ease. In fact, if you had to peel these puppies like an orange I would not have picked up a box. In the beginning I was cutting each slice in half, but after seeing how fast LTD sucked them down I stopped cutting and gave them to him whole. I would put a few on his tray, turn around and they would be gone. I started giving him the entire clementine and with both fists working he would disappear it before you could say choking hazard. My only regret is that once you buy a box you have to eat them relatively quickly as they tend to spoil, but LTD has no problem meeting the clementine deadline.
Long time Beyond the Car Seat readers know that the best products are either ones I can use with LTD or ones that I want for myself. Constructive Eating has developed something that is so cool that I want them to make an adult version, so I don’t look silly when I use the little guys. In fact, this thing is so cool LTD can’t even really use it yet, but I get it out just to watch the carnage. Constructive Eating was designed to get kids to have fun while feeding themselves, which is code for getting them to eat their vegetables. The set comes with a bulldozer pusher, a forklift fork, and a front loader spoon. You can also get the construction plate to better use the utensils in a proper work zone environment. The great thing about the set is that unlike many construction sites you don’t need to worry about organized crime or kickbacks while your kid is eating. However, you should note that using Constructive Eating will not get your kid in the union and will not count as job experience on the resume.
Sadly, LTD can’t really use the utensil very well and like many construction sites I too need a dumpster for the waste when he is done working. Still, it is fun to watch. In fact right now all he builds is a mess, but I’m hoping, as he gets older he will be able to construct a pea pyramid or mashed potato condo. I’m also hoping he will start us them more so I can stop. The Mommy is getting embarrassed.
Mealtimes with LTD have always been a voyage into the unknown. We never know where the food will end up or how much the dog will eat. Now a new challenge has presented itself during chow time. LTD wants to feed himself with the spoon. How do we know he wants to feed himself? He grabs the spoon as it comes near his mouth. Can anyone guess what happens to pears and oatmeal after a baby, with all the grace of a rhinoceros with a meth problem, grabs the spoon? However, The Mommy and I have come up with a simple solution. We call it the decoy spoon. By giving the little guy the decoy spoon he distracts himself long enough that we can get most of the food in or near his mouth. Of course in the nothing is ever easy category, he usually drops the decoy spoon on the floor after the first bite because he thinks it’s funny.
When you take care of a baby 60 hours a week every moment can easily turn into an adventure. Some of the escapades can be fun, some can be scary and some can be just grim. The introduction of yogurt to LTD’s diet has had an unintended side effect. He has taken to grinding his teeth. He makes this horrible noise mostly when he feels that I haven’t had a headache in a while. I can’t stress enough how creepy it is when a baby grinds his teeth. First, you think he is hurting himself and when you realize he’s not you can’t do anything else but focus on the grinding noise and in the end all you can do is tell him to stop which has the same effect as if you told him to take a calculus test entirely in Dutch.
Thankfully the grinding isn’t harmful to his teeth, but the only treatment is waiting for him to grow out of it. I said this already but I think it bear repeating, just to make it perfectly clear to everyone, that the grinding sounds brutal and awful. Additionally, I will again also stress that it sounds creepy as well.
As LTD closes in on ten months of age, it seems every day brings new developments and behavior patterns. One recent protocol has me in not an insignificant amount of pain. LTD feels like in order to explore his world and develop into a healthy human he must stick his fingers in my mouth and either grab my lip, my teeth or shove them down my throat to see how far they will go. I always knew that babies spend a lot of time with their fingers in their own mouths, but no friend, book or prenatal class ever said anything about him putting them in my mouth with an alarming amount of regularity.
We are talking about what I feel is an extreme level of focus when he grabs my lip or teeth. He is locked in like a laser beam and gets more focused the farther out he pulls my lip. Another issue has come up because when I tell him ‘no, that hurts’, he laughs or smiles, which can’t be a good sign for the not to distant future event of turning two. Well, like many baby related behaviors here’s hoping it’s just a phase.
So I am super glad that I spend all my time and energy, not to mention money, on trying to find LTD awesome and cool toys to play with. Why am I glad? Because he could care less, all he seems to care about are their tags. I mean he really goes nuts for them. Not only does he suck on them, he really stares and studies them for long periods. Hopefully, that means he can start doing the laundry soon. I guess The Mommy should make him a tag blanket, but I’m sure it would be just our luck that he won’t want it because he could sense we were trying to put one over on him. Sometimes I wonder if it is safe to suck so much on the tags, wouldn’t it be ironic if the companies took all this care to make their products child safe and environmentally friendly, but the laundry tags were harmful. Lets hope not.
So here’s a new one. Lately, LTD has begun to yell, scream and squeal at an incredibly loud and high pitch. Why is doing this, surely he must be in distress? No, he has taken to screaming because he enjoys it. I know this because when I look him in the eye while he is yelling and tell him to shhhh, he smiles and sometimes laughs mockingly. I would tell him to put a sock in it, but he already does as he has also taken to pulling off his socks and trying to swallow them. In fact, as I am writing this he is screaming his high pitched squeal, ‘yeeeeeeeeee.’ The Mommy and I have come to the conclusion that he is either experimenting and exercising his lungs or he loves the high pitched noises and doesn’t know that he is making them. No matter what the reason we can only hope that he grows out of this phase and soon.