Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Slow it down!

This is going to be big news in only-a-mother would care kind of way...

Luke's gross motor skills are great, if not above average, but his fine motor skills are another story. They were never enough to worry me necessarily, but I just thought if anything was going to be behind schedule...it would be this. While he could grab at bigger toys, he was never really great at little ones. And while he understood his pincer grasp, since I'd catch him doing it just for the fun of it...he never used it to actually accomplish something. Every month I crack open What To Expect The First Year to see where he is with his monthly milestones, and one of the 8 Month ones is "feeds self a cracker". I kind of made this my mission to practice with him since he picked up everything else (and then some) on his own, but that? Not so much. He could get a piece of food in his hand, and even lift his hand up to put it in his mouth, but could never figure out the mechanics of his fingers in order to make it all happen. Granted, he is 8 Months and 1 Week....not exactly time to panic. I just didn't want this to become a problem for him.

So began Pincer Grasp Boot Camp. I would put puffs on his high chair tray with the idea that he could munch on them while I make his dinner, and every time he would just wildly swipe his hand around the tray, knocking them all to the ground like a game. I'd put them on the open spot of his exersaucer, and he'd do the same thing. I'd put a couple in my hand, hold them in front of him, and what would he do? Grab my hand with both of his, lift it to his face, and eat them off my hand. I always said, if nothing else he's resourceful! I could tell he understood the idea, but just couldn't get his hands to do what he wanted. He would get frustrated practicing this...often getting the puffs stuck inside his palms and nothing in his mouth. Admittedly, I was relentless...practicing it every day. He didn't complain, he got to eat puffs! And while I was making a point to work at this every day, I still didn't expect him to get it for a while. I thought we'd be going into 9 or 10 months before he got all the pieces to fit together...I'd just gotten into the mindset that this would be a particular hurdle for him.

Last night we were waiting for Matt to come home from work, and Luke had already had his dinner, so we were sitting on the floor with his puffs having a little dessert-y snack, and I held out a handful of puffs for him. At first he did his usual attempts at picking them and couldn't quite figure it out....and I noticed he was doing this with his left hand. Suddenly, it was like a light bulb went off for him and he thought "hey, I have another one of these hand things, let's try the other one." So here comes his right hand, he reaches towards the puffs, picks one up with a perfect pincer grasp, and pops it in his mouth. !!!!

I'm sitting there, stunned, smiling and saying YAYYY LUKE!!! while he looked back at me with proud satisfaction....so he did it again. And again. And again!

As with all milestones, it was bittersweet. He figures something out and he's one step closer to toddler-hood and self-sufficiency and one step further from being my mushy little Momma's boy who's content to lean on me for everything. I'm proud of all of his accomplishments, but it's still a little sad all the same. This one in particular had me feeling emotional and a little bit crazy. At least with crawling I could watch his gradual learning process every day and I could see it coming. I knew every day that he was getting better, and so while I was floored the first time he cleared a room, I wasn't such a weirdo about it. This time, he figured it out long before I expected it. Last night I was conflicted between celebrating our hard work paying off and feeling a little like "what did I do!" in terms of pushing him to figure this out. And, please...don't think I mean forcing it on him, because I wasn't spending every spare moment shoving puffs in his mouth...I just made a point to practice it every day. It's the only way I can try to help him when it comes to things possibly being problematic for him, right?

Anyway. Tack another accomplishment onto Luke's ever-growing list. I'm not sure I was really prepared for all these 7/8 Month accomplishments...I had no idea they were so insanely rapid-fire. My head's spinning!

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