Glassy-eyed Jackson with potatoes on his mouth
I don't know about you, but a scene from a movie in my education as a kid (I'm guessing they showed it in elementary school?) has really stuck with me. It's the Helen Keller movie, where her tutor (was it "Anne?"), after about an hour and a half (movie time) of failed attempts, FINALLY triumphs in getting Helen to connect W-A-T-E-R, signed out, with that fluid gushing from the outdoor water pump. The movie brilliantly builds to that climactic moment... and I remember feeling such happiness for Helen and such pride for her teacher. Like, YEAH, she's come out of the darkness into the light. A transformation was made. A beautiful one.
Scale that down a bagillion knotches and that's how I felt yesterday. My son, darling and smiley though he is, was really struggling with the hand-to-mouth concept. Now, I PROMISED myself I wouldn't be that anal, competitive mom - but you have to wonder if your kid is behind the 8 ball when you've been practicing with him for two weeks on a) picking up those small cherio-like "puffs" (by Gerber) with any degree of acuracy (it's quite an adjustment to go from huge cups and rings and books to something requiring more concentrated precision) and b) once actually getting it in his hand, realizing that HE has the power to transport that little morsal of yumminess to his own mouth - and mastery is still far away. After 3 minutes of shuffling the little puffy things like hockey pucks on his tray, he finally would clasp onto one (based ENTIRELY on luck), forget that he even had it in the palm of his hand, and move on to the next casualty. That was week 1. Week 2 involved a major graduation: he would realize that it was IN his hand (PROGRESS). But - recognizing the treat and knowing its flavor from ME feeding him them - his response was to just sit there, one hand in the air holding the puff and his mouth wide open, staring at it like, "Come to Daddy, little puff. I'm ready.... well come on, get in my mouth, why don't ya. Stupid puff. I don't have patience for you. I'm gonna get me a new and improved puff." And the process would start all over again. I even modeled, by hand- feeding myself with puffs, but he'd just smile his charming smile, as if to say, "Yep, I sure do love you Mommy. Adults must have special puffs that know how to get into Mommy's mouth. Did I mention that I love you, Mommy?"
So I finally resolved my frustration by thinking that it just takes time. After all, being a baby is something I haven't done for 28 years. You gotta give them time to understand the universe.
That's about the time when Sophia visited Tuesday. I talked with her mom about the puffs and Sophia hadn't tried them yet. So, on a whim, I decided to throw a couple on her tray while Jackson and I were committing to our daily intructional puff session. In perfect form, she used an exceptional pincher technique to gain control of one, then proceeded to bring it straight to her mouth, pop it right in there, and munch on it like puff-eating was an activity she could do in her sleep. I about fell over.
But yesterday, YESTERDAY, was my "Anne" (is that it? I should google to find out) moment. No, Jackson didn't start signing, "T-H-E R-E-A-S-O-N I D-O-N-T F-E-E-D M-Y-S-E-L-F T-H-E-S-E S-T-U-P-I-D T-H-I-N-G-S I-S B-E-C-A-U-S-E T-H-E-Y-R-E G-R-O-S-S, N-O-T B-E-C-A-U-S-E I-M S-L-O-W, M-O-M!" In reality, the puffs are still a struggle, but we made one major connection about hand to mouth. Jackson loves this mesh thingy that can be filled with bananas or anything mushy. He sucks away all those yummy juices. And yesterday was when he decided HE was in charge of the thing. HE BROUGHT IT TO HIS MOUTH! Ahh, sweet Jesus, he GOT it! It just made me think about that gushing water and Helen's gleeful smile... a break-through, for sure. See for yourself.
Gotta go now, another puff lesson is next.
And now for a couple shots at Sears, where we had just finished getting our pics taken. That hat was the MAIN cause for the pics. I just LOVE this look! Gma Lynette bought it for him.