Messy movement, a magical mish mash of limbs that flow together to create momentum and propel our bodies to make or do a particular action with a desired outcome. Our brains send messages to our motor pathways to make a limb or muscle perform a function. It is not generally a thinking process once our muscles have done this action a few times successfully. With practice it develops and deepens the level of success and may become honed to be a high level skill over time. Much like a baby learning to crawl, at first you might notice they lie on the tummy arms and legs off the ground. Then they may rock backwards and forwards. Followed by going backwards! Eventually, they work out this process of going forwards and before you know it, you are racing after them and if you haven’t baby safety proofed the house then you need to get onto it and fast!
Many motor skills are a process of our muscles learning the procedure to perform a task we want to do. Like a baby learning to eat on their own. At first, it is messy and there are several missed attempts and spills, some intentionally through exploring what textures feel like and some unintentional as coordinating their limbs is a complex and involved process. However, when they succeed I am sure you have seen the sense of accomplishment on their faces!
These important first attempts at feeding oneself are the first efforts in being able to manipulate and control the muscles in their fingers and hands. The messy eating play they engage in with their food actually starts the process of control for their pincer grip, the thumb and forefinger which builds and develops and grows in strength and agility to help them when they hold a paintbrush, write or cut with scissors. All very important skills for the muscles to learn for their future.
It can be hard to allow these little ones to be messy due to the cleanup involved, I remember my own little ones, especially my youngest! She seemed to smear her weetbix or spaghetti from head to toe! Much like this picture below! However, this phase does pass and they find food more important to get into their mouth as they get hungry.
Maybe watch your little one move with magic and mess this Monday and hold dear the memory of their motor skills building and growing as they move their food to mouths! Eventually!