For all of you trying to figure out how to spoon feed your baby, here’s a tip that may work: hand him another spoon. He plays with one spoon while you feed him with another. It keeps him from trying to grab your spoon while you put the food in his mouth.

Thanks to J’s dad for that tip, it has helped immensely with feeding N.

Or it did. A couple weeks ago, N hit on the idea that he can use the spoon he’s holding to try to hit my (food-laden) spoon as it’s travelling to his mouth. At first, he was pretty light-hearted about the whole thing. He’d hold his spoon in his right hand way off to the side, and when I tried to feed him he’d bring his hand all the way around in one big sweeping motion. It was such a big movement, it was easy for me to dodge it.

After a few days of this, he got more serious.

He would hold one end of the spoon and point the other towards me. As I moved in with my spoon, he’d only have a fairly small distance to move to block me. This was problematical. In addition to being out-fenced by my child, I was flinging food everywhere.

So, I started using my left hand to block his spoon. Yes, I know it’s cheating, but it was better than cleaning up. And besides, N is actually a good eater. He keeps his mouth open this entire time, and has no problems with the food actually going in. He just likes to knock it away as it arrives. I’d block his spoon with my left hand, and slide the food in with the right.

All was copacetic. Until yesterday.

Yesterday I handed him his spoon and then got out the jar of baby food. When I sat back down to feed him, he was looking at me with a very serious expression (and his wide open mouth). His spoon was on his baby tray, crosswise to his body, with one hand resting (I thought) on each end. I thought he’d given up the battle.

When I tried to feed him, however, his spoon shot straight up, catching mine on the handle and actually knocking it out of my hand. Stunned, I got another spoon and sat back down. This time, he was holding his spoon (still in both hands, and still cross body) above his head. Sure enough, as I brought my spoon in, his came flying down to knock it. This time I managed to hold on to my spoon, but since I was moving my spoon up, and he hit it just near the head… well the food flew over my head, leaving a fine spatter of "oatmeal pear" on my forehead.

You know how they say "Old Age And Treachery Defeats Youth and Skill"? It’s true. Now when N picks up his spoon and starts the battle, I poke at him to get him giggling. Once he’s not so serious, he forgets his skills and I can feed him.

Here’s hoping he doesn’t pick up psychological warfare as fast as he picked up staff-fighting.

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