I ate all my meals this last weekend with my grandson, C--he was visiting with his parents. He's just a few weeks over a year old, still eating some food specifically for babies, but venturing out into the world of grown-up food. He eats in bits and pieces--grapes bitten or cut in half by his mother, crumbs of hamburger, french fries cut in baby-size pieces (with all the sharp ends taken off). He eats with his fingers, although he's also very interested in eating by spoon. He hasn't mastered the art of putting food on the spoon, although if he's offered a spoonload of fruit or mashed potatoes, he knows how to take it in his hand and get it in his mouth.
I fed him breakfast on Saturday, and thinking back on it, it occurred to me that it was a lesson in mindful eating, something I'm trying to get better at. We had Cheerios in milk (both of us), apples and blueberries in a jar (C), toast spread with olive oil and parmesan cheese (mostly me, but a bit for C).
C's Cheerios have to be put in a bowl of milk about half a dozen at a time, since he spits them out if they get soggy. He likes the crunch, but he likes the milk accompaniment. He also likes his bites to alternate--some fruit, then some Cheerios. He likes to have some Cheerios on the table in front of him, dry, so he can pick them up if he gets bored with Cheerios in milk. He appreciated the toast, although when I gave him the first bite, he took it out of his mouth to check it out. Apparently, it passed inspection, since he ate half of my slice in bird-size bits.
When C is done eating, he's done. When he's not hungry any more, he will politely take the bite you offer him, but then he spits it out, extruding it down over his lower lip, dropping it on his bib or the high chair tray.
Or he'll start smearing the food on his tray with wide sweeps, some of which may cause food to drop onto the floor.
Then he likes to hang over in his chair and look at it on the floor. (I find all this far more amusing than his mother does.) And this happens whether it's babyfood squash or birthday cake (see C, below, with the remains of his 1st birthday cake).
A baby is a powerful teacher of mindful eating. He knows just what he wants; he won't eat something if he really doesn't like it; he stops when he's not hungry any more. I'm studying up on this for my own edification and eating/dieting pleasure. I'm usually a quick study, but I think it's going to take a lot more meals in baby company before I'm through.