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2 year old throwing food and spilling milk!!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I was soooo nice and patient at first, but over the last few months it's really getting to me as I near my due date with our next baby.  My son turned 2 in april and he is just not impressed by how upset I get when he throws his food on the floor.  I'm starting to feel like I am not doing something right as a parent.  This is one of the first lesson we teach our kids about right vs. wrong and is the beginning of them developing conscience.  I really want to teach him the right way.  What is the right way?

 

I didn't really feed him solids regularly as meals until he was 14 months old, then I did not really focus on making him learn to feed himself until he was almost two.  Even now, I still feel it is easier and better for him if I spoonfeed him because he seems like he isn't really in to eating otherwise.  

 

Am I spoon feeding him too much and not making him work for it enough?

 

I notice he will throw food more when he is tired, but when he is not tired am I setting my expectations too high?  I would think by now he would not throw food every time he is finished eating. It's not that he throws it per se, but he drops it on the floor or rubs it into his tray.  I have tried everything from back when I was so patient and gentle, to yelling to soft disapproval and a sad expression to sad faces to making him clean up the mess.  But it's not improving, it's getting worse!

 

I am afraid I am going to make him have OCD when he grows up. He says "no mess!!!" all the time.  Poor baby!  I do try to let him make a mess with paints and sometimes give him the green light, but that has not seemed to help things.  I have a tiny table and chair he used to sit at and have his meals, which helped for a while, but then he started getting up too often for me to have the patience to sit him back down.  I think the novelty of it wore off for him.

 

I have been meaning to read The Emotional Life of the Toddler to get better acquainted with what's going on in his curly little head but as of now I feel clueless.

 

Suggestions?

post #2 of 11
When he starts to throw the food you can say, "I see that your done" or "You're throwing your food. That must mean you're done" and then remove the plate. Try not to make a big deal and get reactive. Sometimes the reaction is so interesting to them that they seek it out.

Also, there are these big plastic mats that you can lay on the floor under a high chair that make clean up easy. Then maybe it won't drive you so nuts and you can ignore it. He may stop once he loses the ability to make you react.

Good luck!!!
post #3 of 11

If the weather is nice, maybe you could eat outside. I really think he will come around to eating less messy. He may actually prefer less mess one day. My daughter, who is 4, has been through the super messy, to the super clean, to now a more middle of the road normal place. This applies to eating, painting, dirt, sand and water.

I don't think you have made any mistakes at all! I agree with trying really hard to not let it bother you and hopefully he will give up on it or get bored with it and naturally just become a little more neat. He could just be at the developmental messy stage.

Can I ask a question about starting him on solids at 14 months. Did he not want food? I ask b/c my 13 month old has very little interest in food. It didn't worry me a lot until now (now I am just semi worried). Just curious about that part of your post. Hope it is okay that I ask that. I don't think you DS late start to eating has to do with his mess making. 

When I was pregnant with my second, I was super annoyed by mess. More clutter and toys around the house. I can understand where you are, b/c bending down picking up food splashes mutliple times a day is not comforatble when you are pregnant. 

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Question about starting him on solids at 14 months. Did he not want food? I ask b/c my 13 month old has very little interest in food. It didn't worry me a lot until now (now I am just semi worried). Just curious about that part of your post. Hope it is okay that I ask that. I don't think you DS late start to eating has to do with his mess making. 

 

 

DS just didn't want food too much.  He was semi-interested and might have one small meal (like half an avocado and some plain yoghurt) per day at 12 months.  I think this is because he had never been really hungry in the first year of his life after the first week he was born and I was a very anxious mother who fed him if he even looked at me funny.  He almost never cried.  He spit up twice in the first year; he just adjusted really well to breastmilk.  I introduced rice cereal around 6 months but to this day he just isn't into baby foods or highly processed foods of most kinds.  I didn't "work" at making him like solids too hard,  either, but did get anxious about why it seemed so hard to get him to eat.  Then, when I implemented milk around the same time and his interest in solids increased, by 15/16 months he was having three meals per day.   I hope this helps and thanks also for your reply to my OP.

post #5 of 11
You could try just giving him a tiny bit of food at a time - like give him a bit and keep the rest with you, and when he's done with that bit give him another bit.

Also, he might be wanting more sensory play. Sometimes kids who do messy things for no apparent reason and needing more sensory stimulation, so if you can find some messy things he can do during playtime, he might not do it as much at meal time.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

You could try just giving him a tiny bit of food at a time - like give him a bit and keep the rest with you, and when he's done with that bit give him another bit.

Also, he might be wanting more sensory play. Sometimes kids who do messy things for no apparent reason and needing more sensory stimulation, so if you can find some messy things he can do during playtime, he might not do it as much at meal time.

 

 

 

I think these are both great suggestions, and ultimately I need to accept that I have a two-year old and it's not going to get any simpler for a long time.  

post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by demeter888 View Post

 

 

 

I think these are both great suggestions, and ultimately I need to accept that I have a two-year old and it's not going to get any simpler for a long time.  

Yes, this is probably a big part of it!   I think it's a trap to start disciplining now with the worry that our kids won't grow up with a conscience. Just do the right thing in the moments of the day and your kid will be fine! And there are lots of "right ways" to feed your kid. You could decide to let him make a mess. You could decide that this battle is a good one and use this as a chance to teach about waste, housework and etc. You could get a dog. ;-) Whatever way you decide to go, I'd take some of the emotion out of it because, like you said, a lot of the 2-5 age struggles are about acceptance and waiting things out, IMO.  

 

On a practical tip...

 

I also have an April 2 year old!  I can not imagine spoon feeding her. Oh, my gosh!  For one, I need to eat too (and I also need time to clean messes off the floor). ;-)   But my DC really needs to do things herself. Sure, it's messy but I take that as part of learning. 

post #8 of 11
I agree with what others are saying. I have a two year old, and he does all the messy things you're describing. It can be frustrating, I know. I take his throwing food as a cue that he's done, and I remove the plate/bowl, etc. I also only give him small portions, replenishing his food as he finishes.
I'm all for feeding independence, too. It's really messy at first, but once they can do it for themselves it makes life that much easier smile.gif

I don't think you're making any mistakes, either. With my first, I wasn't super calm about much of anything and every annoying stage was a big problem to be solved. My subsequent children have benefitted from my knowing that the days of bending over to pick up a spoon only to get a glob of oatmeal to the back of my head are relatively brief and fleeting. Thank goodness.
post #9 of 11

My guy is just 11 months but does the very same thing.  The one difference is I hardly spoon feed him - he's much more interested in finger foods, which is tough because he's still developing his dexterity.  Anywho, here's my strategy:

 

http://www.diapers.com/p/sugarbooger-by-ore-jumbo-floor-splat-mat-prehistoric-pal-53040?site=CA&utm_source=Google&utm_medium=cpc_D&utm_term=ORE-061&utm_campaign=GooglePLA&CAWELAID=1338726810&utm_content=pla&ca_sku=ORE-061&ca_gpa=pla&ca_kw={keyword}

 

and 

 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTQLcZcp9XfYqyFps_sEKoHZmLY16KxXed6dArTWr6fHB5wU1w1

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rktrump View Post

My guy is just 11 months but does the very same thing.  The one difference is I hardly spoon feed him - he's much more interested in finger foods, which is tough because he's still developing his dexterity.  Anywho, here's my strategy:

 

http://www.diapers.com/p/sugarbooger-by-ore-jumbo-floor-splat-mat-prehistoric-pal-53040?site=CA&utm_source=Google&utm_medium=cpc_D&utm_term=ORE-061&utm_campaign=GooglePLA&CAWELAID=1338726810&utm_content=pla&ca_sku=ORE-061&ca_gpa=pla&ca_kw={keyword}

 

and 

 

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTQLcZcp9XfYqyFps_sEKoHZmLY16KxXed6dArTWr6fHB5wU1w1

Cute:-)

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by dalia View Post

When he starts to throw the food you can say, "I see that your done" or "You're throwing your food. That must mean you're done" and then remove the plate. Try not to make a big deal and get reactive. Sometimes the reaction is so interesting to them that they seek it out.

Also, there are these big plastic mats that you can lay on the floor under a high chair that make clean up easy. Then maybe it won't drive you so nuts and you can ignore it. He may stop once he loses the ability to make you react.

Good luck!!![/quote

Ditto. Try not to get angry. My 2yo still does this, its just what 2yo's do. At this first sign of throwing, take the food away. If he's still hungry he'll let you know. That's the time to tell him we don't throw food.
Don't worry, I used to get upset with his behavior too. But its not his fault... its his nature. I had to learn to step back, remind myself its not personal, & then correct the behavior.
Hope this helps. smile.gif
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