When Baby Grabs the Spoon

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Full disclosure: my 4 and 1/2 year old sometimes still wants me to spoon feed him, especially with anything liquid like soup or cereal. So the concept of Baby Led Weaning was always far from my mind… Until Veronika got her hands on a spoon!

From the moment I spooned up her first puree, this girl wanted control. She had no interest in being spoon-fed, but she was delighted when she was in charge. As a result, I quickly looked into Baby Led Weaning. In the ensuing few weeks, I learned some tricks of the trade. Here are just a few to impart:

  • Always use unbreakable utensils, sized just right for a baby. I love the curve of Munchkin spoons, which also turn white if food is too hot. Veronika’s spoon inevitably is on the ground by the end of every meal, and same goes for bowls, and plates.Baby Grabs Spoon (6)
  • Cut food into pieces that are big enough for your little one to grab, but slender enough that they don’t pose a choking hazard. First foods should be soft and gummable. Baby Grabs Spoon (9)Veronika loves avocado slices, banana slices, roasted sweet potato wedges, rice cakes, teething biscuits, steamed yellow squash strips, and long strips of honeydew or watermelon.BLW (6).jpg
  • Only put a few pieces of food on the tray at a time, or your little one might get overwhelmed. Again, the idea in these early months is practice, not a full meal’s worth of calories.BLW (1).JPG
  • Don’t worry about the mess! Veronika’s chair looks like a war zone when she’s done, but she’s happy, and thus so am I. You can always wipe everything clean and do an outfit change at the end, but resist the urge to wipe fingers and chins after every drippy bite.Baby Grabs Spoon (1)
  • Make your baby part of the family meal! Veronika eats when her big brother does, and she seems so delighted to join in the fun of utensils and self-feeding right alongside a big boy. The first time they ate the same veggie at the same time, I swear my heart exploded.Baby Grabs Spoon (4)

So when your baby makes a move to grab the spoon, pay attention! It may very well be the sign that he or she is ready to self-feed, too.

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Marshmallow Launcher Redux

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Every once in a while, it’s fun to repeat an activity at one- or two-year intervals, and see the differences in the way your children play at different ages. Travis and I first made a marshmallow launcher nearly two years ago, but with some extra Dandie’s marshmallows in the pantry, today we decided to do a repeat!

First, cut the bottom from a few paper cups, one for each launcher you want. At nearly 5 years old, Travis can handle the scissors himself, unlike at age 3!

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I tied the end of a balloon into a knot, then had Travis help snip off the top of the balloon.

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Stretch this balloon over the cut end of the cup, and secure with an elastic.

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Place 1 marshmallow in the cup; pull down on the knot of the balloon and release. Boom!

Needless to say, we soon had marshmallow bombs all over the apartment, and an eager little boy who had to run and grab all the ammo.

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For some experimentation, we tested what happened when we put multiple marshmallows inside, but unsurprisingly, they didn’t launch as far. Then we tried to hone our aim, using some unwitting Ninja Turtles as target practice. Here’s a quick clip:

All in all, what fun!

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Veronika’s still a little too young to notice airplanes in the sky (it will be a few more months before those excited fingers point skyward every time a plane flies overhead!), but she’s just the right age to be a plane.

For some cute context, first we played with a small airplane toy.

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Veronika loved the propeller on this one!

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Then she got to be the plane. There are two ways to do this. If your baby still needs some support, lie on your back and hold him or her against your knees. Three, two, one… Lift off!

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She loves flying around up here.

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But her muscles are also strong enough now for liftoff right from mommy’s tummy. This time, I lay down with knees bent, but placed Veronika on my stomach and held her around the middle.┬áThree, two, one… She’s flying!

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As you fly your baby around, make lots of zooming airplane noises. You can also get silly: Sometimes I make the captain’s voice announce take off, landing, or even getting delayed, and lift her quickly back up and then down again for a false start. That last one always gets giggles.

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