My 20-month-old daughter is constantly opening the fridge, but when I try to feed her food she usually throws it on the floor, plays in it, or takes a bite or two and THEN plays with it/throws it on the floor. I am just SO frustrated. I tell her "shut the door", "get out of the fridge" and always end up having to physically remove her from it. She knows what those phrases mean, because she will shut other doors or get "out" of certain rooms sometimes when I ask her to, and even repeat, "out out out". Redirecting her will NOT work. I usually end up sticking a mop handle in the door, but she is freakishly strong and usually opens it anyway. None of the fridge locks for kids out there seem to be worth a crap.
The picky eating is an entirely different issue that drives me crazy also (though I know it's "normal", especially since she still nurses several times a day and at night too). She honestly only eats about 2-3 tbsp of solids a day - maybe, and when she ate anything we gave her and LOTS of it from 6 months to 1 year or so. She is obsessed with ice because she is perpetually teething. But she is off the charts for weight and at the top for height, so growth is far from an issue. What drives me nuts is that she ACTS like she is starving and then won't eat. Even if I feed her something and she *does* eat some of it, she'll be back at the fridge 20-30 minutes later just wanting to pull stuff off the shelves. She has her OWN wooden kitchen with pots and pans, food, etc, and I'm getting her more for Christmas (Melissa and Doug stuff - got in on a 50% off co-op!).
I have read that some people put "nibble trays" out on the bottom shelf of the fridge for toddlers to be able to grab a bite as they please, but my daughter would grab most of it and dump it on the floor. We cannot afford for her to be this wasteful, even though she doesn't understand. I also can't leave stuff out on the coffee table, because our new puppy would eat.
I feel like I am a door mat for my toddler b/c I go above and beyond to keep her from fussing or crying, but she is stubborn and will have meltdowns (tears and everything) if she doesn't get what she wants, and this is usually because it is something unsafe or not appropriate for the moment.
I feel like I have never caught a break.... I had hyperemesis and pelvic pain in pregnancy, a 36-hr induced posterior labor, a "colicky", refluxy baby who only wanted Mommy 24/7, PPD, and now a headstrong toddler who still gets separation anxiety. I would not trade her for the world because when she is happy, she is the most loving, hilarious, gentle, cuddly girl ever. Help a super stressed Mama out, please!!! Being AP can be really tough and lonely sometimes. :(
No advice, just sympathy! DS is very similar. Somedays it's hard to put one foot in front of the other! Sigh.
Momma to DD (12/04) and DS (11/09) .
I survived 16 mos! Ask me about breastfeeding a baby with posterior tongue tie, high palate, and weak oral motor skills- whew!
I wouldn't let a 20 month old have access to the fridge. Figure out some way to make it inaccessable to her (there has to be away. Pretend there is poison or something in there. You can find a way!).
Then offer her 3 meals, 2 snacks. Sitting down at the table. She throws the food, she's done until her next meal. It just sounds like she needs some boundaries!
DS (6.06), DD (10.08), DD (05.11).
We have this fridge lock. It kept my eldest out of the fridge until she was almost 4. Our 20 month old can not open the fridge when it is locked. It is the only thing in our house that is in lockdown (besides the undersink cabinet). If they want a snack or a drink they can ask.
Mama to two girls: 5/06 and 3/09
My DD is 21 months and last month she was in this awful stage of being cranky all the time, wanting to be held all the time, nursing all the time and having ENORMOUS, flailing fits all the time, and sleeping like crap. I was exhausted and scared to death that this was how she was going to be as a toddler. After talking to a number of people...from friends to her pediatrician I did a few things that seemed to help because now she is almost back to normal... I try to make time that is just for her each day so that we are moving at her pace and doing what she wants to do. i get down at her level and do what she needs and wants to do and I follow her lead. I also have been making sure that we get outside everyday, even though winter is almost here, especially when she is seeming to be needy or cranky. Another big one is that I am now giving her prunes every day...it is pretty crazy but understandable, but she is regular now and so much happier. I have also made a point to do yoga whenever I can (when she naps or goes to bed for the night), a healthy, happy mama = happy healthy baby. When she has a melt down I hold her close and tell her to take a DEEP breath with me and that she is safe, sometimes they don't realize they just need a hug and for their care giver to be calm. Try to empathize with her say "I understand you want to get into th fridge, but it wastes energy to leave it open. Choose one item that you want and then we need to close the refrigerator." If you are stressed she is going to be stressed. I know this doesn't help with your refrigerator issue. But something that has helped us a lot is letting her have access to most things so she "thinks" that she is getting away with something. We also have the bottom shelf in the pantry full of stuff just for her. Just remember...they will eat if they are hungry. Maybe instead of giving a plate of food, give one piece at a time, so that not everything is thrown on the floor and is wasted. Mine will have a day that she won't eat anything and the next will eat more than me. You can do it mama...it is hard sometimes, but most likely this is just a stage and things will be different next week.
Working Mama to DD (2/14/09) and DS (9/13/12) and wife to DH (7/31/05)
Set a boundary and stick to it. Attachment parenting doesn't mean no discipline.
If you don't want her to open the fridge then don't let her open it. She doesn't have impulse control right now. She may understand what words mean but that doesn't mean she has the cognitive ability to process the concepts behind words. Don't let her open the door. You will loose the ability to do other things for awhile, there will be no time alone or chores done. It may be 2-3 days off hell but more likely a few hours and then some tests over the next few days. I believe in choosing battles and it sounds like is something that needs to stop.
We put a gate on the kitchen - when we don't want ds in there we close the gate. Sure, sometimes that means he hangs on it crying & carrying on but he quickly gets over it & moves on to something else.
Tears & frustration are to be expected with toddlers. I try to just be understanding & available for reassurance & cuddling but I can't prevent him from ever having upsets. We had full out tantrums for awhile a few times a day but now I find that he shows his anger/frustration with a rule & then moves on pretty quickly.
Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).
To the moms that mentioned boundaries, thank you! i almost forgot there was such a thing, I came to read the thread b/c I am in a similar situation O/P, my sons eating habits are not favorable and he is not open to new foods, the ones he will eat are not very nutritious and i am at my wits end but he has learned to go in the fridge and that also drives me up a wall. i will have to be more stern, it's just I get worried when he doesn't eat, then again i remember being told that a child won't let themselves starve so when he gets hungry enough he will eat, i sure hope so *sigh*
There ARE fridge locks that work just fine. My DS was able to get through almost every cabinet lock we used. But I got this fridge lock and it's hard for him to reach and he can't open it.
Wow, I just wanted to say that I totally feel your frustration. I had hyperemesis and pelvic pain (SPD) in pregnancy and a 50 hour posterior labor. It can be hard to go through all that and then have "constructive difficulties" with your LO. I agree AP can feel hard sometimes. But can you imagine the alternative? *Shudder.* I couldn't. It will get better! HUGS.
"I feel like I am a door mat for my toddler b/c I go above and beyond to keep her from fussing or crying, but she is stubborn and will have meltdowns (tears and everything) if she doesn't get what she wants, and this is usually because it is something unsafe or not appropriate for the moment."
And I have totally felt this exact same feeling. We go through this a lot each day. We don't have fridge issues but we have other issues, like climbing on the dog, pulling things out of cupboards, climbing on the couch, etc. I wish we could hang out together and laugh about it all one day!
I'm totally in your shoes OP - my ds is such a picky/finicky eater and even when he signs food and is obviously hungry he will usually throw it on the ground or shake it all around the room making a HUGE mess - SUPER frustrating! I appreciate the advice that 'AP doesn't mean no discipline' - I think I need to remember that and seriously draw some boundaries around meal time. I think that practicing baby led solids made me follow his cues (which I'm happy about) but now we need some boundaries since his 'cues' tell me that he only needs to eat cereal bars and yogurt ;)