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Trying to Comply

We have a new student. He is four years old and his name is Kevin.

Kevin’s lunch plate is set before him. He says thank you and immediately grabs a handful of rice and shoves it into his mouth, nose and chin. Ms. Alyce admonishes, “Use your fork! We don’t eat with our fingers!” She grabs a baby wipe, cleans Kevin’s face and right hand, then properly places his fork in his fingers.

Kevin pauses, looking at his plate, then he picks up a handful of rice with his left hand and puts it on his fork.

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. hehe – Elijah used to do this. Occasionally he’ll get sick of trying to spear something with his fork and just pick it up with his fingers instead.

  2. LOL! My kids did this too. ‘Course, just today, I was saying that I consider dry frosted mini-wheats to be finger food, so I’m not sure I have the right to complain about their ignorance of eating utensils. 😉 😀

  3. Perhaps a spoon would help with the lesson and the rice. Sounds as though he eats that way at home. I can see his little face confused yet wishing to please. 🙂

  4. Mumma — Elijah is one and he used to do this. Kevin is four.

    Brig — you will love my next post (I am currently one day behind the actual event).

    Doug — are you looking for an intern? I’ll send him right over. He’s potty trained, but if he’s engrossed in his work, it’s be in your best interest (or the interest of your upholstery) to ask him every hour or so if he has to go.

    SN — do your coworkers eat with their fingers?

    Nessa — stranger things have happened.

    Pauline — if he doesn’t catch on quickly we’ll find one.

    Melli — yep. That’s the important part. Everything else cleans up with soap and water.

  5. Jill — well, not in any situation that wouldn’t require me filling out copious amounts of paperwork and answering awkward questions.

    Diesel — ha! You’re right. I never thought of it from his prospective!

    Kat — yes, but one doesn’t know what to be explicit about until they have data. For instance, none of us knew this child had never held a fork before. It was just one of the little bits of information his mother didn’t share.

    Polona — he thinks so.

    Nea — he tries very hard, but so many of the things he’s met in our classroom — Kleenex, forks, napkins, trash cans — are completely foreign to him. He has trouble comprehending why he should throw his garbage away. I believe he is used to the stuff just disappearing when he isn’t looking.

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