It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Conditioned!

Over the past month, baby Nigel and I have developed a predictable food ritual. He sits in his high chair, a handy IKEA item, essentially a bucket on legs. It can be pulled up to the table when he feeds himself, or which can be placed in front of me when I’m feeding him. Appropriately bibbed, he sits up tall, alert, ready, and eager for his lunch.

The first spoonful starts the ritual. Thereafter he signals his readiness for the next by swinging his chubby legs like mad, while gripping the front of the chair. The legs-swinging is joined by chair-smacking as the spoon nears his open mouth. His mouth, which is, what with all the swinging and smacking going on, bouncing and bobbing all over the place, a small and eminently miss-able target.

Not wanting to smear his bean goop from cheek to earhole, I place one hand atop his head to steady and still, and in goes the spoon. Thus the procedure is as follows:

Legs swing;
Spoon approaches;
Arms wave;
Hand on head;
Successful deposit;
Boy becomes still while ingesting;
Legs swing.

Swing, spoon, wave-hand-food; swing, spoon, wave-hand-food; swing, spoon… you get the pattern.

Today I made a discovery. The boy was bibbed and seated, primed and ready, when the cat – that endlessly fascinatiing feline – meandered through the dining room. No amount of spoon-waving and you-hooing was sufficient to attract his attention, so I placed my hand gently atop his head to turn his face spoonward. His eyes never leaving the cat – and why can’t that dratted animal hurry himself once in a while, anyway? – Nigel’s mouth opened.

I take my hand away. His mouth closes. Put it back. His mouth opens. Hand on – mouth open; hand off – mouth closed. Open, close, open, close.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have behavioural conditioning.

What do you want to bet he salivates when I put my hand on his head?

January 10, 2006 Posted by | Developmental stuff, food, individuality | 8 Comments

National De-Lurking Week

I’ve been reading about this here and there, but it was at Grumppopotamus that I found this picture, and had to join in just so I could post it!

Isn’t that a great picture??

Do I have lurkers? If you’re out there, pop in and say “hello”, and then you can sneak away again. I won’t ask again for another whole year.

January 10, 2006 Posted by | random and odd | 33 Comments