Before I birthed Églantine in a Polish “stone water” birth bath last fall, I had everything planned out: a tutor-slash-manny, a Jungian play regimen, a Circadian sleep specialist, and of course, her dietary schedule for the next 15 years. I felt so unprepared!
The first two years were (to me and my husband Kley’s delight) very agreeable, and we felt we were on the right track. Until I noticed Églantine’s feces started tasting a tad funny. Right away, I called up our pediatritionist and voiced concern, but he said that it was nothing to worry about. I still had a funny feeling, and so I immediately went onto my favorite forum “Into the Momlight” to see if any of my faithful online gal pals could help me out. Sure enough, Clara (one of my besties on there) was able to talk me out of my sweaty panic and emoji some sense into me. I had no idea she was about to change my family’s life.
After I calmed down, she suggested I try a different feeding technique that she’d been following with her own children. It’s a new strategy that has less to do with the actual food you feed your child, and more to do with the method. This practice (especially recommended for girls) is called The Tot Trough Method. It naturally helps your child release herself from the chains of a seated domestic obligation. The forward-downward ingesting pose allows her to eat with an elongated bowel position to ensure maximum flow of digestion. In terms of the behavior benefits, Tot Trough is meant to teach your child how to “masticate in a manner that gives your child a new perspective outside of the nuclear family, preparing them for a life outside of the home and for their future, quite literally,” says TTM developer Hans Bluud. I was intrigued.
Kley and I agreed that Églantine’s presence in the home during mealtimes did, in fact, conflict with our feelings of how we want Églantine to thrive as a female. Being confined to the kitchen-adjacent dining room could teach her some early bad habits regarding her gender role, and it is irresponsible to keep her inside a virtual prison of domesticity; no freedom to masticate in the open air.
We quickly set up shop and fashioned a trough from some petite varnished reclaimed wood with a granite step stool. Our trough nook was born. She was resistant to eating off the ground at first – at her age, kids will resist you on pretty much anything! But after a while, she got used to it.
At this point you’re probably asking, “What on EARTH are you feeding her in this trough?! I’ve got to try it with my kids!” The usual of course, but we like to start with a mélange of raw, uncut and unwashed (she needs to build her immunities) kale and celery stalks to start. Her baby teeth are stronger than you think!
It’s been a few months since we’ve been banishing her to the trough outdoors during meals, and it’s been fun to watch her adjust to outdoor feeding in wintertime. Brrr! But we believe she is producing the correct fecal flavor profile and is gaining a lovely coating of blonde mammalian body fur to protect her.
Her health and wellness is our number one priority, which is why we make her eat off the ground outside. If only more children could have parents as informed as we are.