Cutlery use is eluding us...

Oh, we're done with all that vegetable-steaming and mess, our children are cutlery-wielding, spaghetti-chomping angels... at least some of the time.

Cutlery use is eluding us...

Postby MissKitty » 09 Feb 2013, 22:54

I'm delighted when I hear about little ones managing their cutlery! And I'm off to get (hope-filled) chocolate custard tomorrow, thanks to another thread I just read :) but...

LO is 20 months, and is showing absolutely no signs of upping his spoon and fork skills to anything other than a few (persuaded) stab and scoops at the start of a meal then noshing in with his fingers for the rest of it. We've had a few occasions where the elusive cutlery has dominated for almost a full meal, including a reported fork and pasta only meal at nursery the other week... but one step forward seems followed by 2 back, every time we get one of these successes! :(

I'm starting to get a bit wound up about it now, although I'm trying to divert myself into encouraging/helping mode showing him how to load the thing (this is the bit that he's not quite 'got'). He's been eating off pre-loaded cutlery like a professional since 6 mo, and I can't help wondering if he's got too comfy with it - although we do encourage him to load by himself and show him how pretty much every mealtime. We've consciously upped this in the last few days to keep on it and see if we can get a breakthrough, but I have no idea how helpful that is. He seems to struggle with stabbing stuff then recognising when he's got something, so it flies off the fork again. He's a fast and impetuous personality, and also a smart cookie - I think he just realises it's quicker to stuff his face using his hands rather than messing around with the awkward metal things.

How do we help him move on to using cutlery more than fingers?! Any tried and trusted techniques you can share for guiding in that tricky load and shovel action?!
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Re: Cutlery use is eluding us...

Postby BLTMama » 09 Feb 2013, 23:10

I think it's personality as much as anything. Some LOs just don't mind the sensation of being dirty* and/or don't want to wait to get the food in as much as othersI posted tons of "why oh why won't she use a fork??" posts here and just went back and looked at them -- I was still complaining at 30 months, but she's 38 now and often manages to finish an entire meal with hands not much dirtier than mine. :wink:

I don't think there's much you can do other than model, unless you want to rubber-band a fork to his wrist a la this crazy lady and her cat. :D :D He won't be eating his wedding dinner with his hands. Probably. :wink:


*Now that I think about it, it might be an interesting forum "study" to see if those of us with LOs who were late(ish) to use cutlery were also late(ish) to PT (wondering if a lack of aversion to 'dirtiness' in general is a factor)...
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Re: Cutlery use is eluding us...

Postby DIMDongMerrily » 09 Feb 2013, 23:12

Dylan still uses his fingers more than his fork and he's 3.5yo! Sorry, that's probably not what you wanted to hear.. :wink: I think sometimes they just go with whatever is easiest, especially when they're still so young, and if he's not particularly fussed about using cutlery he won't bother to learn so fast, IYSWIM? Dylan learnt to use cutlery very well from quite early on but still preferred to use his hands and didn't care about table manners, etc. Isaac, OTOH, wants to be just like his big brother so learnt to use cutlery even earlier and chooses to use it most of the time.. peer pressure! Do you sit with your LO for mealtimes? They obviously tend to pick most of their table skills up from watching people eat, how they do it, etc.. he will get there, even if it seems like slow progress now. It doesn't really sound like he *can't* do it, because he's used a fork exclusively a few times.. more like fingers are just faster and he's just hungry :wink:
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Re: Cutlery use is eluding us...

Postby Gizmo » 09 Feb 2013, 23:13

Metal cutlery for sure, plastic forks can't stab anything. For spoons make sure it's the right size, ours use small teaspoons which are much easier for them than those stupid wide and flat baby spoons. Make stuff that is easy to scoop for him, maybe thick porridge or something like that that will really stick to the spoon. I make sure we get pasta spirials as they seem easier to stab and stay on, if they are a little bit overcooked then it makes it difficult for them. Lots of encouragement, the first time DS picked something up himself with his fork and in his mouth I clapped him and told him how clever he was, I couldn't help it I was so chuffed he had done it, he seemed quite pleased with himself and quick as a flash stabbed another piece. The both still have moments when they fling their spoons around (usually when it's soup!) and the wall gets covered but I know they can do it and that's ok.

xposted
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Re: Cutlery use is eluding us...

Postby DIMDongMerrily » 09 Feb 2013, 23:14

BadgersMommy wrote:*Now that I think about it, it might be an interesting forum "study" to see if those of us with LOs who were late(ish) to use cutlery were also late(ish) to PT (wondering if a lack of aversion to 'dirtiness' in general is a factor)...


Ahem. Don't you have cupboards to tidy/organise or something..? :wink:
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Re: Cutlery use is eluding us...

Postby BLTMama » 09 Feb 2013, 23:16

DIM wrote:
BadgersMommy wrote:*Now that I think about it, it might be an interesting forum "study" to see if those of us with LOs who were late(ish) to use cutlery were also late(ish) to PT (wondering if a lack of aversion to 'dirtiness' in general is a factor)...


Ahem. Don't you have cupboards to tidy/organise or something..? :wink:


I feel like there should be a good joke here about dirty cupboards and aversion to dirtiness in general, but I can't think of it so I'm just going to slink off and clean something... :oops: :wink:
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Re: Cutlery use is eluding us...

Postby Lioncub's mama » 10 Feb 2013, 12:41

Iwas going to do a new thread on cutlery and then saw this one - so just to reassure you that there is another reluctant cutlery user around! Frustratingly with liocub is that he used to be great at using cutlery, and would proudly use his spoon and fork even to eat finger food like pizza! But the last couple of months he's just decided he can't be bothered at all. I think like your LO he just reckons that fingers are faster and so there's not much point. I kind of see his point! It would be nice if he ould put on a display if nice cutlery use when the inlaws are staying later this month though!
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Re: Cutlery use is eluding us...

Postby MissKitty » 10 Feb 2013, 14:45

Reassuring to know we're not the only ones!!! It's so frustrating because we know he can do it, and the times he absolutely doesn't do it are clearly deliberate on his part. It's obviously a choice for him, right now.

We all sit together for mealtimes, although we don't currently have a table so it's us with lap trays and him still in his Antilop. This is something I am about to change - rejigging the kitchen so we can get a table with chairs, then slap a harness onto one of the chairs for him, so we all eat at the table. He does this at nursery (albeit Ikea Mammut kid size table and chairs, so fun, teeny weeny and brightly coloured!). I am hoping that a table setting and change of location will help. And although it's not early days BLW, the wipe clean laminate floor will be welcome :) He also has had metal cutlery since about 10 months. The plastic stuff is useless for anything but yoghurt pots! He now wants our cutlery, so has our teaspoons and steals my fork routinely, and we have a merry dance trying to sneak his in place of it (he can't handle the length of an adult's fork). He gets praise when he does it well, and we also get the proud look and repeat action... then he can't be bothered again! Grrrrr!

The one thing we don't have at home is peer pressure. He does so much better when we are out and there's another child around (especially a girly - he's a bit of a ladies man and likes to impress...) - but we can't just borrow other children for mealtimes at home!!!

I assume that duck taping the cutlery into their hands is frowned upon and counterproductive... ;)
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Re: Cutlery use is eluding us...

Postby Gizmo » 10 Feb 2013, 16:06

MissKitty wrote:I assume that duck taping the cutlery into their hands is frowned upon and counterproductive... ;)
:D :D :D :D
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Re: Cutlery use is eluding us...

Postby Sandytoes » 14 Feb 2013, 21:06

Late potty trainer and reluctant cutlery user here too. She can do both but just can't be bothered a lot of the time. So maybe there's something in the theory!
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Re: Cutlery use is eluding us...

Postby MissKitty » 23 Mar 2013, 08:02

Aaaaargh! Just had a horrid breakfast and had to step back a bit. We have had on off cutlery use but never for a full meal (wouldn't expect that yet) but today he used his spoon for 3 spoonsful of porridge, threw the spoon, tucked in with fingers. I took the porridge away. Gave it back 2 mins later. Same happened. I took it away again and replaced it with cereal. Same thing - very clear deliberate spoon rejection. I felt myself going... so backed off and took all away. He cried and I said we use spoons, can he? Yes, he said. And did! For 6 spoonsful when I put the food back.

I can't do this every mealtime! And I know I shouldn't as tit for tat happens and the point is lost. He is currently brushing his hair with the spoon and eating shreddies with his fingers. No point to my post really - we still have the issue, and it seems like its getting worse :(

Would it have been different if we had done TW? The answer to this is key as Easter will mean a family meal and I need to be ready to defend with an answer to that! And hopefully it will be No... ?!
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Re: Cutlery use is eluding us...

Postby Marrow » 23 Mar 2013, 08:33

Have you read CloverGirl's BLW 'manifesto' on the New to BLW board? New to this myself, so may well be talking nonsense, but why on earth would removing a child from the normal eating experience where they see cutlery being used all the time be more helpful?
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Re: Cutlery use is eluding us...

Postby StJuniper » 23 Mar 2013, 12:43

Just an idea, what if you had fork practice at the beginning of every meal. Something that you can tell him is for eating with a fork or spoon that will only take three or four bites. Then you can heap praise on him for doing it all with a fork, and leave him to use it or not during the main meal, praising him when he does.

My other thought is maybe he's frustrated with the cutlery learning curve? P is very good with a fork, but I still often intervene and grab the end of a fork to help him stab something if its taking him a few tries and he still hasn't got it. I figure he's still practicing and by intervening at that point I'm keeping him from getting frustrated and opting for hands as the quicker method.
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Re: Cutlery use is eluding us...

Postby sabrina fair » 23 Mar 2013, 18:43

My DS is 3 months older and uses a combination of hands and cutlery (mostly hands...) and it honestly hasn't occurred to me to worry about it. I worry about what he eats...picky little monkey that he is...but never how he eats it. I'm just gently trying to point out that, well, does it matter what a not-even-two-year-old uses to eat his food? Almost every adult I know has grown up with the knowledge of how to use cutlery and when eating with hands is considered bad manners, and I'm sure my little one will too. I'm just not fussed about rushing anything, and if anyone dared to judge him, I'd consider it to be their problem rather than mine.

So...why exactly is it that you want him to be using cutlery? Is it because you're worried he's never going to get there, or because you're worried about what your family are going to think at Easter? Because, if it's the latter, is it really worth making mealtimes stressful for? In answer to your question, I can't imagine that there's any difference between a TW and BLW'd baby in using cutlery - it'll be down to personality and individual priorities just like almost every other developmental change.
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Re: Cutlery use is eluding us...

Postby MissKitty » 23 Mar 2013, 20:06

Good question, sf - partly because I know he does it a lot at nursery, and partly because when we're out and about I see younger kids than him doing it so it makes me think 'Aaaargh! Why won't you just use the fork/spoon, LO?!', and partly because it takes him an absolute age to finish a bowl of porridge with his fingers and this isn't great when we have a finite amount of time to get him out of the house to nursery on a work morning. If we take over and load for him (which he hates) it degenerates into a stressful mess.

And partly because my mother has never understood or really been behind us doing BLW with him and she will not miss an opportunity to interfere and turn it round on me as some kind of 'you're so useless, your child won't even use cutlery - how disappointing AGAIN...' and it'll become a new moral 'stick' to bash me with and shake her head about (yup - there's A LOT of history there...) I shouldn't care about that, but it's something I'm still trying to work through from my past and I haven't quite got there yet. I have solved the problem, however - I will be turning down the expected request to have Sunday lunch there on Easter Sunday. MrK can't be there and I am absolutely not putting myself in her company without his backing! She never ever tries or says anything provoking and antagonistic when he is around - although she'll have a pop if he leaves the room and act as if nothing happened when he comes back in.

I think I also need LO to move it on - and this might be a 'me' thing. I've reached the end of my patience level for almost exclusive finger eating and it's showing. That's my problem, not his :oops:

I need to look at this with new perspective, don't I? Perhaps do the cutlery practise thing for a bit, then let it go freeform. It's so frustrating tho...
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