"We want to eat like a big kid and use our dear sweet fork and spoon."
Updated: Feb 5, 2023
Calder has a bad habit of eating with his hands. Fine motor skills are really hard for him, and if you’ve been reading Calderism, you know Calder loves food. When he’s got a bowl of rice, or chili, or homemade pasta, he loses all patience and dives right in with his hands. However, unless it’s french fries, eating with your hands is gross. When he eats, Calder makes a huge mess. He gets food on his face and clothes and a lot drops to the floor as well. When we go out to eat, Calder feels self-conscious because he knows people are looking at him like he’s a wild animal or, worse yet, a disabled kid.
Calder’s abilities may differ from other people, but he wants people to treat him with respect and he wants to be the best version of himself he can be. So even though it's easier for Calder to eat with his hands, he has asked us to teach him how to use his spoon and fork.
It’s not easy work. We have spent hours upon hours trying to help him. You see, typically, feeding Calder goes like this. You put the food on the fork. You hand him the fork. He takes the food off the fork. For the past two years we’ve really worked hard at breaking this impulse by doing things like holding his free hand so he can’t use it to put food in his mouth. We finally have reached a point where if we put the food on the fork, half the time, he will grab the fork, lift it to his mouth, and feed himself. So now he’s ready for the next step. We’ve started teaching him how to stab food with his fork and scoop rice with his spoon. It’s messy work. A lot drops on the floor. But he’s getting into the rhythm.
To the average Joe this might not seem like a monumental feat, but when you spend years teaching someone you love a skill they need and they finally understand it, it feels magical for all parties involved. Calder has a sense of accomplishment: he can finally use a fork to eat his food. And me, my brother and my parents all feel a sense of pride. Calder has overcome one of his hardest struggles through sheer will. What is easy for you and me isn’t necessarily easy for Calder, but it goes to show, that the toughest struggles for some are some of the easiest for others.