12 month old really testing boundaries - Difficult meal times - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 12 Old 12-16-2008, 12:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
kittykat2481's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 497
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My son just turned 1 on Saturday, and I feel like he's really testing boundaries, and playing with cause and effect. The problem is that the "ignore the bad behavior and it will go away" tactic just isn't working for me. It seems that dinner time is one time that is really tough for us, because there are fewer opportunites for redirection and ignoring the behavior.

I'll just take tonight's meal as an example. As usual he keeps putting his feet on the table. I've tried scooting him up so far that he can't get his feet out, but he still manages to get them up on the table. (He sists in a booster chair at the dinner table.) Then he kicks his plate off the table. Then he smashes his sippy cup upside down on the table and makes the milk spill everywhere. The he splashes in the milk. Then he feeds his food to the dog. Then he throws the plate and the cup on the floor and waves and says bye bye to it. Then he screams for my food. Then he refuses my food when I offer it to him. (99% of the time it's the exact same thing he has anyway.)

I've tried leaving the cup on the floor when he throws it. (Natural consequences.) I've tried putting it back on the table and saying that cups stay on the table, but not giving it back. I've tried saying uh oh and giving it back. I've tried putting his feet down and engaging him in conversation, song, silliness. He puts them right back up. He's starting to push back against the table now, and I'm afraid the chair is going to fall backwards. I've tried signing finished when he feeds the dog or throws his plate, and taking it away. Then he screams and reaches for it. If I give it back it's 50/50 whether or not he'll eat more or throw it again.

I just don't know what else to do. When he tries me at other times of the day, I can usually redirect him or remove him from the situation, but meal times (especially dinner) are just getting more and more difficult. He's barely 1, not 2! Please help! (At least let me know he's not the only one lol.)

Kat, wife to and mommy to (Dec 07).
kittykat2481 is offline  
#2 of 12 Old 12-16-2008, 12:49 AM
 
alegna's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 44,408
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
He's a baby.

I think your expectations are not realistic.

Perhaps he's not mature enough/ready to sit in a booster at the table. He seems to be telling you he can't be safe there.

Try giving him just a few bits of food at a time instead of a plate-full.

At a year food is still mostly just for experimentation. Around 75% of his nutrition should still come from breastmilk (or its replacement- formula)

-Angela
alegna is offline  
#3 of 12 Old 12-16-2008, 12:55 AM
 
mama2peyton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 289
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
:

I think at that age, they do not have a long enough attention span to sit quietly through a whole meal. Perhaps you could reduce the amount of time he actually has to spend at the table, and he'll be less likely to get so frustrated.

I also have to say I do not believe he is "testing boundaries", that really sounds like age appropriate behavior.
mama2peyton is offline  
#4 of 12 Old 12-16-2008, 12:55 AM
 
mamazee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: US midwest
Posts: 7,500
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Well, first, I'd put him in a high chair if his feet on the table bothers you. He's too young to learn to keep his feet off things. He's still just a baby.

Otherwise, I'd just give him a tiny bit of food at a time. Let him eat what he's hungry for and don't worry about it. My daughter was having almost no solid food at all at that age.
mamazee is offline  
#5 of 12 Old 12-16-2008, 01:02 AM
 
kiwiva's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 899
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Sounds like normal behavior for a baby that age.

I'd put him in a high chair rather than a booster. At that age, DD was in a chair that attached to the counter (we don't have a table) so her legs dangled, but later when she was pushing away like that we pushed the high chair away from the counter to solve the problem.

She didn't get a plate at that age either. Small amounts of food went on a placemat when she was attached to the counter and when she was in the highchair it went on the tray. A lot of food always ended up on the floor anyway, but I just doled out small amounts at a time and kept a towel under her chair to aid in clean-up.

DD is 2 now (26 mos). So far I have found that different phases have been challenging, but then they get better and then there is some new challenging phase. So it is not a flow of if he's driving me crazy now, 2 will be a nightmare. Don't go there, it makes now much more stressful! It's all also a lot easier if you know that what they are doing is perfectly normal for their age and really will go away.
kiwiva is offline  
#6 of 12 Old 12-16-2008, 01:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
kittykat2481's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 497
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks for the input ladies. I guess I should say that a high chair isn't really possible in our cramped apartment. I did have a tray on the booster, but he seemed to enjoy sitting at the table with us, so we decided to put the tray away. The reason I assume he was testing was because he was doing soooo well for a long time, and it seems like as he's developed better communication skills, and gotten a better grasp on cause and effect, it's getting worse. I just recently started trying a plate instead of just serving him small bits on the table. Perhaps he isn't ready for that yet. I'm just conflicted because at times he does so well.

I don't know if it's related or not, but he has been eating quite a bit of solids for a few months (started around 7 months, and has pretty much been a pretty hearty eater since shortly after that). He is still nursing about 5 times a day, but it's getting difficult lately to get him to nurse during the day. I've actually gotten bitten a few times in the past few days. I am trying to encourage nursing as much as I can, and actually go to his daycare at least once during the day (he goes 3 days a week because I'm a full time student) to cuddle and nurse him.

Anyway, I'm sorry for rambling. I don't know if any of the nursing issues are related or not, which is why I mentioned it. I guess he's just changing as babies do, and it's hard for me to know how to deal with it.

Kat, wife to and mommy to (Dec 07).
kittykat2481 is offline  
#7 of 12 Old 12-16-2008, 01:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
kittykat2481's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 497
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwiva View Post
DD is 2 now (26 mos). So far I have found that different phases have been challenging, but then they get better and then there is some new challenging phase. So it is not a flow of if he's driving me crazy now, 2 will be a nightmare. Don't go there, it makes now much more stressful! It's all also a lot easier if you know that what they are doing is perfectly normal for their age and really will go away.
Thank you, I think I needed to hear that. Just because this stage has its challenges, doesn't mean that future stages are going to be any more challenging.

Kat, wife to and mommy to (Dec 07).
kittykat2481 is offline  
#8 of 12 Old 12-16-2008, 12:50 PM
 
Llyra's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: right here
Posts: 9,450
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Honestly, if he's at the table and not actively eating, then he's probably done, and I'd let him get down. Maybe put a few toys nearby the table and let him play where you can keep an eye on him, while you finish your meal. With my kids, as soon as they started acting silly and playing instead of eating, they were done and I put them down. If they're really hungry, they'd be eating. That might be as short as three to five minutes at that age. It doesn't take them long to learn that if they want to eat, they have to eat, and not play.

It really is normal for that age. They're not pushing the limits intentionally. They haven't actually learned the limits yet, and they don't have the self-control to respect those limits even if they know them. You have to repeat it thousands and thousands and thousands of times before they get it. You'll probably start seeing an improvement in "civilized mealtime behavior" by the end of the next year, if you keep gently guiding his behavior. In the meantime, keep your expectations realistic-- once the playing starts, the meal is over for him, even if he's only just sat down.

me knit.gif, he bikenew.gif, my three reading.gif, sleepytime.gif, and fairy.gif-- and the one we lost angel2.gif
Llyra is offline  
#9 of 12 Old 12-16-2008, 01:42 PM
 
TinyMama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 708
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittykat2481 View Post
The reason I assume he was testing was because he was doing soooo well for a long time, and it seems like as he's developed better communication skills, and gotten a better grasp on cause and effect, it's getting worse.
I know it's hard, but could you rearrange your thinking so that you recognize what he's doing NOW as "doing soooo well"? Because, in fact, what he's doing now is demonstrating many more communication skills, and a better grasp of cause and effect, than when he was "behaving" at the table. Overall, I don't think referring to infant/young toddler behavior as "testing" is particularly helpful. (Older toddler and child behavior is a different story.)

Trust me...I know how hard it is. When my dd screamed, "NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!" at me in the middle of the library today, I didn't feel like she was demonstrating new and more sophisticated skills. But an hour later, at home, I can see that she was rehearsing a newfound skill--deciding when and if we leave storytime.

Mommy to DD 5-07
TinyMama is offline  
#10 of 12 Old 12-18-2008, 12:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
kittykat2481's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 497
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks everyone for the input. I brought his favorite photo book (pictures of our family) to the table for him to look at before / after he eats, and that has really helped. I've also tried to focus on his emerging communication skills, and have realized that all this time he's been trying to communicate with me, and I wasn't understanding him. Anyway, it's not easy, but I guess being a mother never is...

Thanks again for reminding me that it's me, not him lol. (The issue, that is.)

Kat, wife to and mommy to (Dec 07).
kittykat2481 is offline  
#11 of 12 Old 12-20-2008, 03:56 PM
 
PikkuMyy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: hmmm
Posts: 7,370
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I think that when he's "doing so well" with X, you should continue to do X for a while since it works. Perhaps you could try the tray with small pieces of food on a plate for a few minutes, then when he's not eating much, remove the plate and tray and bring him closer to the table with something to do, like the photo book while you sit together as a family a bit more. Then let him down and talk to him while he plays as you eat. In a few more months he might be ready for more food at a time or having his food at the table but he's just not ready yet. And that's OK!

With kids that young, I sometimes have them sit in my lap after they are on their own for 5-10 mins. Then if they want to try some of my food, they can, and otherwise they are still part of the social circle as we eat.

Early intervention specialist and parent consultant since 2002.
PikkuMyy is offline  
#12 of 12 Old 12-22-2008, 01:07 AM
 
Tdunahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
Posts: 113
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Just wanted to add, my Ds will be a year at the end of January so I feel you. Sometimes my son does things and inside i'm like "what are you doing!? you know better than that" and then I say "wait, no he doesn't I just want him to!".

Sometimes my son is a great eater and sometimes it ends up on the floor and I spend more time cleaning than I thought I would and it sucks! What i've been doing is I hand feed him whatever i'm eating (to be honest, sometimes its at the table and sometimes its in the living room) and then also put a couple pieces of food in front of him (when he is in his high chair) so he can feed himself too. I know my son couldn't handle a plate it would be gone within seconds (my son likes to see things bounce, its a new thing) but he does like to feed himself sometimes and won't take food from me so having some food that he can grab and eat is a happy medium for us.

Anyways, just wanted to let you know you're not alone in this stage!! Good Luck!
Tdunahoo is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off