Saturday, January 30, 2010

Striving toward autonomy

The Baby Beast has never been a fan of being fed... in fact, he regards spoon feeding as something to be distrusted and will glare at any spoon proffered towards him, unless he has seen me eating off of it first.

Luckily, he has managed a lot of finger dexterity. His pincer grip (grabbing between his index finger and thumb) has progressed almost to the point where he never misses (although getting the pincered food into his mouth is another story... that almost never goes quite as smoothly, and I'd say at least 45% of the things that move towards his mouth end up on his bib, his pants, or the floor). And if he can't grab it in his fingers, he'll just put his face down to the table top and eat that way.

No, we don't do a high chair. We used to do, but I found it to be an unbelievable hassle to always wrestle the thing out of the corner and over to the table, take the tray off and get the baby strapped in, put the tray on, put food on the tray... and then have to take him back down in five minutes when he grew tired of eating/playing with his food. We invested in an inflatable booster chair for regular adult chairs (straps onto the back brace and the seat) and it has been a lifesaver. He can sit at the table with us and eat, and he is able to get things himself with only a minimum of tossing on the floor (like I said, 45%. but then, we have the puppy cleaning crew around here).

Since the Baby Beast is so intent on autonomy, I'm planning to invest in a Montessori weaning table in the next couple of weeks. Weaning tables are just what they sound like: tables sized to your infant/toddler meant to make the process of weaning from breast/bottle to solid food as easy as possible.

No, I am not planning on stopping our breastfeeding relationship. The WHO and AAP both recommend breastfeeding a minimum of two years, and as long past that as mother and child are comfortable. And while Maria Montessori believed children should no longer breastfeed past nine months, she and I will just have to agree to disagree on that point.

Here is a photographic example of a weaning table and chair. Once the Baby Beast's arrive, I will certainly include photos.

Why make it so low to the ground? The idea is that your infant/toddler can get into and out of the chair with a minimum of help. Traditional high chairs make the baby completely dependent on an adult to help get them in and out, but the weaning table/chair can be climbed into/out of without and adult lifting the baby.

I operate on the belief that I'm not raising my baby; I'm teaching a person. Thinking in those terms quite often stops me from impinging my own desires on the Baby Beast (i.e. interrupting his play time to cuddle or kiss on him; he approaches me quite often for cuddles, and i am VERY willing to love on him when he asks for it. there's no need to stop him in the middle of his play to kiss him).

It amazes me every day how fast he's growing. It's hard for me to believe he'll be 10 months old in a couple of days. Time isn't marching on - it's flying by.


  1. Oh I lovvve the table and chair. We eat at a kids size outdoors table and SB eats better there with me than on my lap, than in a highchair....and outdoors means I don't have to worry so much about the carpet. We have experimented with ALOT of highchairs.

    I don't know alot about Montessouri, shocking though seeing as I'm half way through my early childhood education degree. What is the philosophy about?

  2. Montessori basically can be summed up as "Follow the child." Rather than telling a child what they SHOULD do, when they express an interest in something (i.e. watering flowers), you demonstrate how to do it, then stand back and let them do it. If they mess up, that's fine... don't correct unless they ask for help. It's really treating children with the same respect as you would an adult, since they ARE adults, just very small and not as knowledgeable yet.

    I actually had a post about the Montessori philosophy with a link or two...

    I hope this helps!

  3. Hey cool, sounds pretty much like what we are doing. It's so rare to see people respecting children. It's so disheartening. Keep up the great work!