This week we started a new unit on foods and eating.
The theme verse for this unit is “Give us this day our daily bread” from Matthew 6:11. The purposes of this unit are: learning to eat with a spoon/fork and a plate/bowl, increase communication at mealtime through sign language, and instill a basic understanding of the provision of God in our everyday lives.
I have yet to hear a song about a spoon and a fork or a bowl and a plate, so we really didn’t have any songs to sing this week related to our topic. If anybody knows one, please share it with us, we would love to hear!
I know it should be a usual thing to pray before EVERY meal around here, but with all the rush of getting food on the table and trying to get G to eat, I must admit that I have been pretty lax about it at breakfast and lunch. So, the goal for this week was to pray before EVERY meal. I tried to create a routine for this by bringing the food to the table and then placing it out of her reach, looking directly into her eyes and saying, “Let’s pray for our food.” During the prayer, I incorporated our theme verse each time. In my mind, the repetition has to do something in her little brain. At the end of the prayer, we would start eating.
Our activities for this unit happened mostly at the dinner table. We worked on getting G to communicate in more than grunts and screams by focusing on teaching her the sign language for “more.” We have been doing this for a really long time, but she has always been hit or miss on using it. For the first few days of this week, we withheld food and drink until she showed the sign for more. This sounds more harsh than it actually was, because she already knew how to do it, but was very reluctant to use it. By midweek, she was using the sign for “more” frequently and was duly rewarded with more food or juice. We are also working on the signs for “milk” and “please;” but will focus on those in later weeks of this unit.
We also introduced the spoon and fork to G along with the plate and bowl. We have created rules for her regarding not picking up the plate or the bowl and this required quite a bit of reinforcement throughout the week. But by the end of the week, she was not very interested in picking them up. We are also trying to teach her that her cup is to be set up right when she is done taking a drink. We are instilling this by saying it over and over: “The cup goes up right.” She has not quite mastered the art of using the spoon and fork, but she does hold it while picking her food up with the fingers of her other hand. We are using lots of positive reinforcement when she does well with each of these things and are seeing lots of improvement. It will only be a matter of time until we don’t have to watch her and correct her as closely as we do now.
To teach G about foods, I took her with me to the grocery store and made a point to discuss each item we put in the basket and mark off the item on our grocery list. We also made a trip on the first day of the week to buy her some plates and new sippy cups. We have introduced the new sippy cup, but she does not use it to drink just yet.