Speaking of eating with your mouth open, Anaya and I had a fascinating interaction on this very point this week. Unable to bear seeing one more mouthful being masticated, I told her I had had enough. "Anaya, do not chew with your mouth open any more. If I see the food in your mouth one more time, I am taking your food away."
Such unusual cruelty could not be borne with unflinching fortitude. "But Mommy, I CAN'T chew it without opening my mouth! I won't be able to eat any more!"
"Baloney. You just told me a few weeks ago that you could eat with your mouth closed now."
"No, I can't! I will get so hungry I will DIE!"
Iron-hearted Mommy was unmoved by the howls and begging, so eventually Anaya laid down the ultimatum. "Then I will just go to bed now."
"Alas! Go to bed then." (See what my poor pitiful children have to endure?)
Anaya slouched off to her room, wailing. From her bedroom I could hear loud muttering (probably prayer). At any rate, the depths of despair were overcome in about 40 seconds, and Anaya came bounding back to the table. "All right, I will TRY to eat with my mouth closed." She put a spoonful into her mouth and held it there uncomfortably, then pushed it around and gulped. "See? I can't do it!"
"Try it like this," I suggested, putting a bite in my own mouth, chewing and swallowing. "See? You push it onto your teeth with your tongue."
She deposited a bite in her mouth, chewed thoughtfully, and swallowed. Her face lit up. "I CAN do it, Mommy! I can chew with my mouth closed!"