Monday, August 01, 2011

Momma Mondays - Cheerio!

My son has always been big for his age. He was 21 pounds by the time he was 9 months, had a bountiful head of hair, and he had 8 glorious teeth as well. He was in the 90th percentile for height and 75th for weight. This 9 month old was often mistaken for being at least one year.

Although he grew quickly and sturdily, he lagged behind in other developmental areas. He didn't crawl til he was 10.5 months, is still not standing, and has not shown interest in solid food unless it is of the finely pureed variety.

Now, my friend Ellen has a daughter who's been eating Cheerios by the handful since she was 7 months old. I'm not saying that Knox should compete; I'm just saying that he has twice as many teeth as she does and is three months older. I don't care that he didn't eat Cheerios at 7 months, but at one year? Come on.

So I've been working with him. At his 9 month check up, the doctor said we should be thickening his food and I should be offering him O-cereal, banana, toast, crackers, pieces of fruit, etc. He didn't believe me that Knox gagged the minute I forced a Cheerio into his mouth. He had never seen a baby clamp his lips closed tightly and jerk his head from side to side the minute he saw a Cheerio headed his way. The doctor couldn't believe that a baby Knox's size and age was that big under the simple diet of breastmilk and Stage 1 jarred baby food three times a day.

After this check up, I rolled up my sleeves and set to work. Every day, I attempted to give Knox three Cheerios. I forced them into his mouth or broke them into thirds and sneaked them into his food. The moment Knox felt the crunchy object on the tip of his tongue (the tip!) he would gag as if it were all the way back in his throat and unless I scraped it off, he would make himself throw up. So then we would both take a break. Give it a day or two and try a graham cracker or banana instead, which he also denied. If it didn't come from a blender, he hated it all.

And during this solid food boot camp, I ate this stuff, too. With gusto! I would chomp down on a Cheerio like it was a four star meal. I would dramatize the biting so he could see my teeth chomping. I would give myself high praise, clapping for myself, and mmm-mmming like it was super delicious. After a month of this, Knox started to open his mouth when I would offer him a bite... and then he would spit it out immediately. By 11 months, he was showing interest in the food, touching it and throwing it on the ground. (He really hates when the cereal gets soggy and sticks to his fingers.)

And finally, last week, he opened his mouth and allowed me to give him a Cheerio. He bit down, worked it around in his mouth, and I gave him oodles of praise. I yelled, danced, cheered, and clapped. "Go Knox! Momma's so proud of you!" And then he giggled and spat it out.

But today - oh glorious today - my son ate a Cheerio. Not only did he eat it, but he fed himself! Not only did he feed himself a Cheerio, he popped 'em in one after another like a starving man! I am so happy. He is one year and one week old and finally eating Cheerios like his other baby pals. I know this milestone isn't walking, or talking, or anything huge to most folks, but I'm the proudest woman on the planet. And although I realize that this is his moment, I feel like a huge success myself.


Molly said...

Yay Knox! :)
He is such a cutie. Have you tried little cheese cubes the size of peas? Allison doesn't like much solid food either but she likes her colby jack! xoxo

Awhit said...

Molly, I hadn't tried cheese yet due to the previous blog about his constipation, but since that seems to be much better with the help of Miralax, I thought I'd give pea sized cheese bites a try.
He spit each bite right out... but hey, baby steps, right?