First of all, thank you to all my Face Book followers and for all your well-wishes. I am healing from my appendectomy nicely. Who knew you could have recurrent appendicitis?? I should have paid attention to my complete lack of appetite with the episodes. That’s serious for me!
Anyway, I asked a question to the FB folks, which was, “what is your favorite feeding gadget or item that was a must-have?” From the Oralflo cup for pills to the segmented toddler plate, the one that stood out most was the toothpick. Reader “T” said, “Toothpicks! Because they make everything seem like you’re at a party :)”
In general, I shy away from making food entertaining to get kids to eat it. If it takes you thirty minutes to assemble a plate of fruit that looks like a clown, or a work of art, you are probably working too hard. But toothpicks are another story– here are a few anecdotes/tho0ughts around toothpicks…
1) My favorite, was eating chicken-noodle-soup with my 5 year-old and Ellyn Satter. M was having trouble with the lovely noodles (I don’t know if they were home-made, but the soup was delicious, the noodles thick and hearty. Ellyn walked over to a cupboard, retrieved a toothpick and handed it to M. She said something like, “Would you like to try a toothpick to get those noodles?” I had never tried this, and I watched curiously and without saying anything (tough for me not to say anything, but I have learned with feeding, that half the work is being quiet and observing what your child is doing and when possible to follow her lead.) Anyway, M grabbed it, and happily speared and consumed two bowls of noodles. Wish I had tried it earlier. As a tool, in this case it was a way to help M do it herself. Montessori fans will recognize “help me do it myself.” Any way to help a child have a sense of control or autonomy around her eating will generally help.
2) my birthday party, probably around age 7. My folks made a porcupine fruit monster. Half a water-melon with carrot legs, and a back full of fruit, mini-sausages (it was the late 70’s after all) grapes, etc. It was cute and a hit, fun for a special occasion.
3) Fruit kebabs. After a talk at a Denver WIC program, we visited a WIC site and tasting cafe. They had fruit on skewers and the kids all grabbed and gobbled them up. I’ve heard lots of parents say, “anything on a skewer!” It’s really just a long toothpick! Why not have kids help make the skewers, or just put out bowls of cut up fruit and give them toothpicks to skewer individually. (Be sure kids are old enough to handle them safely. Oh, and I imagine my friend K with her three boys might encourage a “no sword-fighting rule” or something of the sort…)
What do you think? have you used toothpicks or skewers? Are there other feeding tools you have used with success?