Author Topic: Toddler mealtime anguish  (Read 2178 times)

shelivesthedream

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Toddler mealtime anguish
« on: November 03, 2020, 08:58:26 AM »
We have an ongoing on-and-off problem with our toddler's behaviour at mealtimes. Please do read all the background below because I do think it's relevant. Please also Ctrl+F "shelivesthedream" for my further posts for some clarifications.

Our toddler
"Awdry" is 2.5 years old. BabySLTD is nine months old. He likes her and she has been a positive addition to our family. She is not the problem. He is a gentle, sensitive little thing, easily upset and scared.

Our schedule
7am - get up, cup of milk for toddler, everyone dressed, etc
8am - breakfast (muesli or bread) (all together)
10.15am - banana (all together)
12.15pm - lunch (all together)
1pm-3pm - nap
4.45pm - dinner (toddler and baby)
6.30pm - lights out

We have recently changed this from 11am-1pm nap and 1pm lunch because he wasn't napping at all and was crashing in the afternoon so I felt he needed to be tireder when going down for his nap. We have some stroppiness around naptime and bedtime from time to time but not what I would consider a big deal. I think his body clock is still adjusting to the later nap so he is often a bit tired at lunchtime.

Also, we have a wooden clock we have put on the table to give a visual 30 minutes for each meal because before he was messing around endlessly. We fudge the time as necessary and, when he just eats, it has proven to be plenty of time for a full meal for him.

The problem(s)
He helps me prep lunch and/or dinner most days. (Standing and watching mostly.) During this time he will announce things like, "I will only eat the rice. I will not eat the cauliflower." I will say, "OK" Then he will repeat this endlessly while I increasingly want to scream at him and box his ears.

Then we sit down to lunch. He will take a bite or two and then burst into tears. Sometimes he is clearly putting it on and subsequently works himself up into real hysterics, but often it is real upset. We have no idea why. Sometimes it is because the food is hotter than he expected. Often we just don't have a clue. If he doesn't cry, he will continue to say, "I don't like cauliflower" and "I will eat the rice". We sit there fuming having a miserable time listening to him crying. Eventually that makes the baby cry too.

Sometimes he says, "Shall I sit on your lap?" "Shall you feed me?" These have long been his go-tos for when he's ill or upset. I don't mind doing it from time to time and I'm not worried I'll be sitting him on my lap when he's eighteen but I don't want to do it every day. Sometimes I want to eat my lunch. Sometimes I need to feed the baby. Sometimes I just don't wanna.

He also asks us to blow on his food endlessly to "cool it down". Even when it is stone cold. I am not going to blow on every sodding spoonful any longer. I need to eat my own lunch.

The goal(s)
Obviously I would like him to eat his damn food and try things before decreeing he doesn't like them.

But the real goal is just to get him to SHUT UP. We are pro Ellyn Satter and he can either eat it or not eat it. After all, he's the one who's got to be hungry! But I do not want to hear him endlessly repeating that he doesn't like it or won't eat it. And I certainly don't want to sit there listening to him cry!

I just want to have a pleasant family meal.

Also, I would like my own food to be hot. And his food to be not-too-hot.

Things we have tried
Note: I am not proud of all of these

- Sending him to the kitchen to cry by himself
- Shouting at him to sort himself out
- Letting him sit on our laps
- Letting him sit there and cry
- Asking him what the matter is
- Trying to soothe him
- Holding his hand
- Guessing/naming his feelings
- Ignoring him
- Having pre-meal prep talks (which I am pretty sure are flying way over his head)
- Um... I am sure we have tried some other stuff.

We have, I will admit, been firefighting rather than having a consistent strategy. And there is something about the repeated negativity that pushes every single button I have.

I am willing to entertain all suggestions, be it proactive things we can do to change the atmosphere or reactive ways we can respond effectively to his turdery.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2020, 12:06:33 PM by shelivesthedream »

GreenQueen

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2020, 09:18:14 AM »
I enjoy reading your posts, even when they fill me sympathetic dread like this one. I don't have great advice but it sounds like you're doing your best, and don't be ashamed of any of the coping mechanisms you use, including sending to another room. Space and independence is important for everyone!

We only really got a handle on mealtimes after age three, and it's only gotten consistently reasonable lately at close to 4 years old. 2.5 years was a really difficult time for me with my daughter in many ways, so perhaps just leave your child with a friend or relative for awhile. Kidding, sort of.

It sounds like you're doing great, and don't be ashamed of any of the coping mechanisms you use, including sending to another room. The repetitive statements lessened for us after age 3 but are still there. Try listening to music while you do prep so LO can dance or get out of their verbal diarrhea feedback loop.

If you can get 5 minutes of sitting and eating at that age, it's a miracle. Maybe set a timer for 5 minutes, then set another if that works. Any food intake is also great.

You might reward a good meal with a picnic (eating on the floor on a blanket) sometimes, or under a blanket fort. Then it's like a compromise and they see that eating together while sitting down can be fun at the table and otherwise.

The hysterical tears are a challenge, but I find that sitting there quietly with a vague smile, encouraging deep breaths, and saying things like, "It's okay to be frustrated/sad/angry/confused. Do you want to take a little break and come back?" often validates whatever mania they are experiencing and allows a pause that could let us continue said activity, or derail it and start over.

Good luck!


Roadrunner53

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2020, 09:28:19 AM »
First of all, I probably have no right to respond to this because I have no children and have never had your issues. But, on the other hand, I have had a very sick dog and have done everything but stand on my head to please him. So, I do know your frustration.

Children do not have experience with food flavors, textures and aromas. What might seem like a perfect food to you, might smell disgusting to a child. I would never scream at or punish a child for not eating. I was a terrible eater as a child and got to the point where I was on the verge of scurvy. I would not eat green vegetables. The doctor told me and my mom that I had to eat green veggies so mom only asked me to eat one bite full at a meal and that was it. Over time I came to like certain vegetables.

I would try some bland type foods if your kid will eat them. Like mashed potatoes, apple sauce, grill cheese sandwich. You could also try the smoothie route and put in some carrots and some other vegetables. Only use a little at a time. Little kids like finger foods and I hear from mothers, kids like chicken fingers (breaded chicken-crispy). Yogurt with fruit is fruity and tasty. Put out a tray of celery and carrot sticks with some ranch dressing. A chicken leg might be appealing because it can be picked up by the hands. If you make meat loaf, you could add minced veggies to it. Chicken mixed with rice, chicken gravy and maybe peas might be tasty.

Here are some books written on the subject you are talking about that might help too: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=cook+book+for+picky+eater+children&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss

Good luck, be patient. Some kids are poor eaters and some get over it.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2020, 09:40:34 AM »
Just wanted to clarify two things:

If you can get 5 minutes of sitting and eating at that age, it's a miracle. Maybe set a timer for 5 minutes, then set another if that works. Any food intake is also great.

The half hour is a MAXIMUM limit. He can get down whenever he feels he is done. Before we were sitting there for over an hour while he ate tiny bites but claimed he wasn't done yet. Maybe one in ten meals the time comes to an end and he says he isn't done but we clear up anyway. That's ALWAYS because he's spent the first 25 minutes pissing around.

I would never scream at or punish a child for not eating. ...

I would try some bland type foods if your kid will eat them. ...

Good luck, be patient. Some kids are poor eaters and some get over it.

He's not a picky eater. He's a dicky eater. I am not asking for help to get him to eat more food or more vegetables. His diet is fine. I was the world's pickiest eater. I did not die of scurvy. We put food in front of him and he can either eat it or not eat it. What I would like him to do is shut up about it. He's definitely a faddy eater, but aren't they all? One day he loves cauliflower, the next day he won't eat it. Fine. We not make him eat. We do not comment on what he is eating. But we do not need screaming commentary about it. This happens with new foods and old foods.

I am not looking for menu advice. I am looking for behaviour advice.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2020, 09:45:59 AM by shelivesthedream »

BeanCounter

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2020, 09:45:04 AM »
My boys (now 8 and nearly 12) both went through similar things at that age. We handled it by just being unemotional and saying that they can only be at the table if they had appropriate table manners. Which included NO CRYING, and NO DISCUSSION ABOUT THEIR FOOD. I tell them (even now) we can talk about whatever else you want, but I don't want to hear about your food. If you like it, then eat it and ask for more, if you don't then don't eat it but be quiet about it. My youngest child preferred to graze. Which means he would often be dismissed for poor manners, but we'd leave his plate out and he'd usually come back later and take a few bites. This drove me nuts, but it was the only way we could get food in him with minimal discussion or fight.

I'm happy to report now, that this was all a phase. They still go through times where they are more picky than others. It really just depends on how much they are growing. I try to make sure that each week we have at least one meal that each boy really prefers and the rest I don't worry about, I make what I want and they can enjoy it or not. Soon I'm going to take the advice of my former advice and make each boy in charge of planning and cooking one meal a week. He told me his own boys became less picky when they had to cook. I've seen this in action with my oldest at Boy Scout campouts.
Actually could you ask your toddler to choose a side dish that you would include? Maybe to give him more control? Like would you like to have peas or applesauce with lunch today? And then the other two meal items are yours to pick. I mean that's what this is really about- control.

Laura33

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2020, 10:19:38 AM »
First, I'm sorry.  BTDT (except mine was actually picky as hell), and I do not envy you going through that.

Question:  since what you're doing isn't working, why not re-think ideas that you have previously dismissed as irrelevant?  I am thinking in particular your conclusion that it's not about the baby.  How do you know that?  Because they get along fine?  He can love the baby and still resent losing all that special one-on-one time with mom.  (Plus my own DD absolutely adored DS -- for about the first 9 months.  Then he stopped just sort of lying there and smiling and started doing tricks and crawling and being actively cute and grabbing for her toys and attracting much more ongoing adult attention beyond the standard "oooh isn't he cute" cooing.  At which point he became a threat and the switch flipped in her.)

I noticed that it looks like you do everything all together.  Which is awesome and a great way to manage things.  But his behavior -- in particular, the unpredictability of it -- suggests that it's not about the whatever-it-is he's whining about on a given day, but is instead about something else.  Like, say, the attention he gets when he does these things.  And if that's the case, then nothing you do is going to "fix" the behavior, because your reactions are the payoff, and he's still not getting the positive one-on-one attention he needs. 

Is there something you can do to carve out some one-on-one time with him?  I know it's harder on you, but maybe let them nap at different times so he feels like he's getting the special mommy time while baby naps?  Or give him maybe 30 minutes after the baby goes to bed so he can be the big boy with the "later" bedtime?  If you can combine some positive one-on-one time with @BeanCounter's unemotional "table manners" idea when he acts up (depriving him of the payoff he gets from seeing that he's made you angry), you might get over the hump.

Or, if this is a lunchtime thing more than a breakfast or dinner thing, it could also be that he is struggling to adjust to the later naptime, even though he seems to need it. 

Or I could be completely off-base.  ;-)  But that's all I've got.  Good luck! 

chemistk

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2020, 11:22:49 AM »

Question:  since what you're doing isn't working, why not re-think ideas that you have previously dismissed as irrelevant?  I am thinking in particular your conclusion that it's not about the baby.  How do you know that?  Because they get along fine?  He can love the baby and still resent losing all that special one-on-one time with mom.  (Plus my own DD absolutely adored DS -- for about the first 9 months.  Then he stopped just sort of lying there and smiling and started doing tricks and crawling and being actively cute and grabbing for her toys and attracting much more ongoing adult attention beyond the standard "oooh isn't he cute" cooing.  At which point he became a threat and the switch flipped in her.)

I noticed that it looks like you do everything all together.  Which is awesome and a great way to manage things.  But his behavior -- in particular, the unpredictability of it -- suggests that it's not about the whatever-it-is he's whining about on a given day, but is instead about something else.  Like, say, the attention he gets when he does these things.  And if that's the case, then nothing you do is going to "fix" the behavior, because your reactions are the payoff, and he's still not getting the positive one-on-one attention he needs. 

Is there something you can do to carve out some one-on-one time with him?  I know it's harder on you, but maybe let them nap at different times so he feels like he's getting the special mommy time while baby naps?  Or give him maybe 30 minutes after the baby goes to bed so he can be the big boy with the "later" bedtime?  If you can combine some positive one-on-one time with @BeanCounter's unemotional "table manners" idea when he acts up (depriving him of the payoff he gets from seeing that he's made you angry), you might get over the hump.

Or, if this is a lunchtime thing more than a breakfast or dinner thing, it could also be that he is struggling to adjust to the later naptime, even though he seems to need it. 

Or I could be completely off-base.  ;-)  But that's all I've got.  Good luck! 

I'll second some of this. As a disclaimer, I'm no expert since my wife and I have been going through this with out middle (3.33yo) son.

One of the few things we've learned the absolute hard way is that the transition from little walker to school-aged kid (I consider the whole window between 18mos and 4 or 5 years to be a single transition) is full of a lot of new preferences and priorities and absolutely no way to express them.

Reading through much of your predicament, the biggest thing that stands out to me is that everything is changing (sibling is older, routines have shifted, he's becoming more self-aware every day) and he has no way to express his frustration with those changes. Our son is very similar - if he's not happy with an established part of his routine, it's not because he's mad with the routine, he's unhappy with a totally different aspect of his life.

Many times, we really can't pinpoint exactly why he's upset, but it's evident that he's trying to let us know that there's something he feels like he doesn't understand or have control over and the only way to let us know is to express it through something he does have control over.

So to Laura's point - if he's upset that his routine is changed, or that he has less one on one time, or that the baby is just getting too into his personal space, he can't tell you those things because he doesn't understand those concepts on a fundamental level. I know it seems like anger toward the sibling would manifest itself in physical or verbal assaults, but in kids that are sensitive/teddy bears, they might express their frustrations in a space they feel they can control.

In all honesty, we're not experts in this field - there are plenty of times when we get it wrong. A lot of it with toddlers is just a big guessing game.

The one thing that I will say we have nailed down is that our boys both need to feel like they have control over something, outside of the rest of the family's routine. Our boys all get "quiet time" every day where they are allowed to choose (within reason) whatever it is they wish to do - read, color, play-doh, a show (within reason). They both crave that time in the day where they get to do whatever it is they wish without the influence of each other or us. We also will, typically, allow them to choose what the family (or whatever fraction of the family is at home at the time) does - something that everyone could at least in theory enjoy, but specifically chosen by whichever kid's turn it is. Maybe that's going on a walk, or to a specific park, or choosing a meal, or picking the movie on 'family movie night'.

I'll reiterate that I'm no seasoned veteran - my kids are 5.5, 3.3, and 1, so I could be completely talking out my rear here. This is just what works for us now.

tthree

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2020, 11:26:34 AM »
This sounds awful and it seems like you are doing everything right, especially involving him in meal prep, but it also sounds like involvement in meal prep could be a source of anxiety for him, as he is working himself up before the meal starts. 

While you are prepping a meal can he do something else?  I would even go so far as suggesting he sit down at the table with a selection of room temp food offerings while you prep.  Then when the meal is ready you can all sit down together to "eat".  He would be required to eat nothing/comment on nothing you have prepared for the family.  He is welcome to politely ask to try something.  Perhaps only require him to remain seated at the family portion of the meal for 10 minutes, then let him leave.  Require him to come back when it is time to clean up.

Hopefully this way you can enjoy you meal without whining.

fuzzy math

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2020, 11:31:52 AM »
Developmentally a few things happen supposedly at age 3, but that all happened at age 2.5 with my 3 kids.

1) They stop eating as much. They grow more slowly and simply don't power down the food quite as much.
2) They develop the concept of NO. Whether that's a valid critique of the food, or just an opportunity to assert power depends on the situation.
3) They want some choice.

It sounds like your meal times might be long or strict. The clock might be overkill. No matter what you're doing or not doing, he seems to think that he's expected to eat the cauliflower. If that's not your intent, you might need to be more direct about it. "Just eat what you want. I like cauliflower but its ok if you don't".  Also, would letting him choose carrots or cauliflower on some days help him? It might make him more invested in the cooking process or actually want to eat what he is served. Maybe the morning snack is too close to lunch time? I'd personally rather skip the banana unless he's starving, feed him earlier like around 11 am when he might be hungrier and more likely to focus and sit for a meal. Kids do not eat as well when they're tired too... The banana could be saved for if he's complaining of hunger before nap time?

Also he seems to have some amount of jealousy over the baby as described in wanting to be fed, in your lap and have his food cooled. Is the baby young enough that she can lie or sit in a swing or something so you can focus on meal time for him?

shelivesthedream

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2020, 12:04:38 PM »
I'm going to have a big think about the suggestions, but just wanted to clarify some further things:

1. Baby naps from 9am to 10.15am, during which time it's alllllll him and me. We do a few chores together then play/read together. BabySLTD's lights go off at 6pm. Mr SLTD does his personal bedtime five nights a week, I do it two nights a week. He gets to watch cars out of his window, then has a story and a song.
2. We actually do meal prep as part of those chores - just chopping up stuff for the rest of the day so we can throw meals together quickly. Then each meal only takes about fifteen minutes to do. He is not required to help with any of this but he asks to. Even if I try to sneak off!
3. Our mealtime requirement is that he sits at the table while we say grace. Then he can get down whenever he is done. I guess in theory we would let him get down immediately, but he generally likes sitting at the table with us even if he doesn't eat anything, so doesn't usually ask to get down for fifteen minutes or so at least. (Except when he has hysterics...) He gets a maximum of thirty minutes for each meal. (In reality up to 45 because we fudge the time to be fair.)
4. I don't know how to communicate that he doesn't have to eat the cauliflower. We say "You don't have to eat it" about nine thousand times a day.
5. The sitting in our laps and feeding him thing has been an on-off request since before BabySLTD was even conceived.
6. We do not require him to eat anything.
7. BabySLTD eats breakfast, banana and dinner with us/him but during lunch she just vaguely hangs out on the floor doing her own thing. (We have an open plan sitting-dining room so their toys are only a few feet away so either of them can play while we eat.)
8. We do have a pretty strict routine but I don't feel like we are strict parents in general. We are certainly not shouty authoritarian types. The routine is to keep everyone happy and by and large it works.

Just as an example of how random and irrational this is, he ate two bites then cried for half an hour over his lunch, then spent ten minutes eating two more bites, then we cleared it away (again, this happens once or twice a week MAX, we are not depriving him of food), then he asked if he could have it for his dinner, so we kept it and served it again alongside his planned dinner, he ate about half (as well as some planned dinner), then asked if he could have it again tomorrow.

I have no idea what's going on in his mind, but for both him and us it seems like it's not about the food. Whatever it is is really upsetting him but I have reached the end of my sympathy. In my mind we're approaching the consequence zone, which I don't love but I just need him to shut up.

My gut reaction is that it's a communication issue - us failing to communicate our expectations (lack of expectations about eating cauliflower, expectations around shutting up) and him failing to communicate whatever the problem is.

Anyway, I will mull over the suggestions. My first reaction is that it also isn't about BabySLTD but I want him to stop so will do some soul-searching and tbh will try some stuff about that even if I don't think it is because I really really want him to stop.

Kmp2

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2020, 02:13:52 PM »
Our rules are:
1) It's rude to the cook to complain about the food.
2) You have to try it before you can say you hate it. If you've tried it and don't like it you don't have to eat it... but no more saying you hate it (once is enough and see #1)
3) It stays on your plate (no throwing, dropping on the floor or putting off on the table), again you don't have to eat it, but that's rude.
4) and we don't have snacks... mostly because I don't want to make them - when they say they are hungry I just remind them they are doing an awesome job getting hungry for (insert next meal here). But none of the kids every seem to have meltdowns from hunger either so we get away with this.

Mine are 2.5, 4 and 7 - the 7 year old is really getting it and is soooo much less rude! The 4 year old is not, and the 2.5 year old does exactly what the 4 year old does. However he also loves his food, so it usually doesn't last long because he's hungry! So there's still lots of complaining. I just keep repeating you don't have to eat it, but you do have to try it before you can say you hate it... and that it's your choice, I trust that your big enough to make that choice. I'm pretty good at enjoying my food though while they complain though I guess I have had lots of practice? It helps that they have each other to complain to and it's not all me now?

Anyways, no real advice - manners take time? And they come and go in phases?

fuzzy math

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2020, 02:28:07 PM »
Maybe he's going through some big developmental thing that's causing an emotional regression? Sometimes kids do that. Is this a recent thing or a long standing thing?

I'd also suggest distraction. Maybe its too much for him to focus on his meal and he doesn't have much to talk about it, other than not liking the food?
When my kids start complaining I just turn on music. Silly kids music (that you can tolerate) might fill the space and keep him from wanting to fill it with complaints. It might relax him enough too that he can eat better.

Captain FIRE

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2020, 02:35:28 PM »
Much sympathy, these kids are so tough.

What I've discovered has worked with my 3 yo:
- Bets (with nothing attached to the bet itself if won/lost, just attention)
- Reverse Psychology
- Distraction
I've read ignoring attention seeking behavior helps, but it doesn't seem to for us.

So, in your case "I bet you can't eat the rice".  My kid would then have a bite of the rice and I am suitably impressed or shocked and all are happy. 
I'm trying to think of a way to frame "I bet you can't not talk about the cauliflower" because that's a convoluted sentence/idea for a little, but that's what you really want to happen. Sometimes we talk about the baby, and then he tells us the baby can't do it and he will do it, so maybe that's another way to do it.  ("I bet the baby will have a bite of rice first."  "Mommy, the baby can't eat rice!" or "Mommy, that's MY rice." "OH!  Are you going to?")  Again though I struggle a bit with how to translate that to not talking about food.  Maybe try the quiet game?  "Let's see who talks first about their food.  Winner doesn't talk about their food!"

BeanCounter

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2020, 02:38:01 PM »
Oh I had another idea. With my youngest when he has complained about something being on his plate I have said in my best sing-song voice ďoh yes! Thatís right! Youíre not old enough to like that yet. Silly me. I forgot you are still very little. Donít eat it!! When you are bigger you will like it. Just like Daddy.Ē
Sometimes heís just ignored me. But a couple times heís eaten it just to spite me.
We donít tolerate crying at the table. In our house you cry in your room. Iím sure Mr. Rodgers wouldnít approve but it keeps us sane. And me kids donít throw tantrums for attention.

Laura33

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2020, 02:45:52 PM »
He's not a picky eater. He's a dicky eater.

First, I just had to add that this totally made me LOL.  That was SO my DD (only kid in the 2-yr-old room who had to be strapped into a high chair to eat, because otherwise she'd run around and talk to her friends and be totally exhausted/starving melting down later).

I don't really have much helpful to add; sounds like you're doing the stuff I'd have suggested.  One final thought:  could it be that the toddler is picking up on your frustration and is therefore on edge and is therefore acting out more?  I know when my DD was that age, she was my little stress canary in the coal mine -- if she was acting up more than usual, I'd sit and think about what I had going on, and I'd almost always realize that I was stressed out from other stuff, and she had picked up on that before I had.  Kids are really, really, really attuned to their parents' emotions, and your (totally natural) frustration might unfortunately be feeding the cycle.

Or it could just be a developmental phase; kids tend to basically lose their shit right before a big developmental jump.

The one thing I'd urge you to (try to) keep in mind is that kids most desperately need love when they are the most unlovable.  He doesn't like feeling and behaving that way, either; he just doesn't know any better way to manage whatever those big emotions are that he is feeling.  And you really, really don't need to worry about spoiling him; from everything you've written here, you are exactly the kind of parent who is going to navigate this and have reasonable boundaries and expectations.  So if he needs a little extra cuddling or attention, even when he's most definnitely being unlovable, feel free to try out being extra lovey without worrying that you're now setting him on the path to permanent entitled twitdom.

Is there something you can do to break the cycle, just shake things up -- for him and you?  Just to change the narrative?  Maybe everyone leave the table and lunch is over when the whining starts -- "oh, ok, you must not be hungry now, we'll eat later" --  and now you go have an unscheduled story time or walk instead?  (Ignoring the ensuing tantrum, of course).  FWIW, my favorite "consequence" was always naptime -- "oh, wow, you must be really tired if you're having a fit, because I know you're way too big to act like that.  Sounds like it's time for a nap."  (Didn't actually work that much -- at least not right away -- because the emotions were way bigger than the prefrontal cortex could manage.  But over a couple of years it did.  And it also gave me something to say that kept me from losing my shit). 

But what the hell do I know -- my DD was atrocious at that age, because I had my little statistical outlier first and my "normal" kid second, and so I did everything wrong.  But I will say that the things I regret now are all the times I lost my patience and became discipline-ary, instead of really seeing that my kid was just as freaked out by how strong her emotions are as I was annoyed by it. 

Also:  he's not going to shut up.  He just won't.  That's not what kids do.  Is there anything you can do to give yourself a break or change of scenery so the inevitable annoyances just slide off you like Teflon?

Freedomin5

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2020, 02:56:12 PM »
Our rules are:
1) It's rude to the cook to complain about the food.
2) You have to try it before you can say you hate it. If you've tried it and don't like it you don't have to eat it... but no more saying you hate it (once is enough and see #1)
3) It stays on your plate (no throwing, dropping on the floor or putting off on the table), again you don't have to eat it, but that's rude.
4) and we don't have snacks... mostly because I don't want to make them - when they say they are hungry I just remind them they are doing an awesome job getting hungry for (insert next meal here). But none of the kids every seem to have meltdowns from hunger either so we get away with this.

I like these rules. Iím going to steal them. We have a six year old who still complains about food during dinner.

OP, our rule is that if youíre crying or throwing a tantrum, you need to leave the table and go have a time out until youíre calm again (framed not as a punishment but as an opportunity to practice executive functioning skills like self-regulation and self-soothing). If you want to stay at the table, then you need to stop crying. DD used to go for a timeout a couple times a week. Then she decided sheíd rather stay with the family and learned to shut her mouth when given the first warning.

J Boogie

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2020, 03:45:22 PM »
Sometimes he says, "Shall I sit on your lap?" "Shall you feed me?"

I knew you were a Brit, but it's easy to regard it as a purely geographic difference until one tries to imagine their own American toddler saying something like this!

Kmp2

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2020, 04:42:31 PM »
Steal away @Freedomin5 - Just like I'm going to shamelessly steal @Laura33 idea to interrupt initial complaining with taking away food and putting it away for later with a 'you must not be ready for lunch/dinner'... I think this might work with my mid-kid :)

He's 4 though (soon to be 5), so I will probably make him sit at the table with us, be part of the family and talk about his day. Instead of redirecting to a story like you probably would a toddler, I'm guessing he asks for his food back probably in <5 minutes of watching us all eat.


elaine amj

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2020, 04:43:58 PM »
Would it help if you delayed your lunch until they nap? After a little while, I realized I loathed eating with my toddlers. They always needed this or that and my food would be sitting there getting cold. So I would be impatient and get angry about it. One day I had a brainwave and just started serving the kids only. I ate later when they were in bed. This way, I was way more patient dealing with toddler needs and could daydream my solo meal of HOT food later lol.

Sorry about all the mealtime frustrations :( Toddlers are uniquely talented at driving you up the wall.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2020, 04:48:56 PM »
I also think different and fun foods should be considered.

You mention cauliflower, not too many kids crave it.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2020, 02:24:00 AM »
I also think different and fun foods should be considered.

You mention cauliflower, not too many kids crave it.

Is there anyone else on this thread who thinks that my problems are caused by my serving the wrong foods? If so, I am happy to submit our weekly meal plans for your critique.

Jessa

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2020, 05:32:08 AM »
I have no suggestions. I think this age is just a lot of repetition. Hawkling told me "I don't know what happened to Dad's lighter*" roughly 47 times at breakfast. I don't know what happened to it, either. He is also a slow eater, because he feels the need to talk and imagine that his food is a vacuum cleaner or a backhoe instead of, I dunno, eating it??? Best I can say is maybe get him to talk about something other than food during mealtimes. Like what happened to Dad's lighter, or how he can hear the smoke detector.


*i suspect he does, in fact, know what happened to the lighter, and has a guilty conscience,  but that sounds like Dad's problem.

rockstache

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2020, 05:52:52 AM »
I think this age is just a lot of repetition.

This! Pebbles was afraid of a box fan that we put in her room for ONE NIGHT in the summer because it was warm in her room. At least 4 months ago now. The next morning she let us know she didn't like it, and Guy put it away and she hasn't seen it since. EVERY MORNING, she tells me how it's gone, Dada took it away. All gone.

Yes child. It's been gone for months. Nothing to fear. And repeat.

Sibley

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2020, 10:42:50 AM »
I'm dealing with my own version of toddler behavior with cats, and what you describe is screaming to me that it is indeed Something Else and it happens to show up at mealtimes. Whether that's the baby getting more interactive, the change in nap time, a developmental jump in process, who knows. But you will survive it. Hang in there.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #24 on: November 04, 2020, 11:58:33 AM »
I also think different and fun foods should be considered.

You mention cauliflower, not too many kids crave it.

Is there anyone else on this thread who thinks that my problems are caused by my serving the wrong foods? If so, I am happy to submit our weekly meal plans for your critique.

No one said you are feeding you child the wrong food. But variety or introducing new foods the child has never eaten might make lunch and dinner more interesting. The child might focus on the new foods and be less obstinate. I do agree with some others that said to agree with the child that he is not ready to eat and just take it away and ignore the fact he isn't eating. Hunger is a motivating factor. Have you tried rewarding him for eating and not getting cranky by giving him a treat after the meal? Maybe something like stickers or a small candy treat or taking him to the park to play, play a game?

Jessa

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2020, 12:43:47 PM »
I think this age is just a lot of repetition.

This! Pebbles was afraid of a box fan that we put in her room for ONE NIGHT in the summer because it was warm in her room. At least 4 months ago now. The next morning she let us know she didn't like it, and Guy put it away and she hasn't seen it since. EVERY MORNING, she tells me how it's gone, Dada took it away. All gone.

Yes child. It's been gone for months. Nothing to fear. And repeat.

YES!!! We still get the story of "Grampy cut up corned beef! He used electric knife!" It's a true story. It happened BEFORE TS2 WAS BORN. TS2 is five months old. I wonder if his death bed reminiscence will be about my FIL cutting up corned beef...

Cranky

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #26 on: November 04, 2020, 02:54:02 PM »
So, honestly, I think that the phrase ďpleasant family mealĒ does not apply to very many meals that you eat with toddlers, and itís probably better to let go of that ideal. Any day that actually happens is a delightful bonus from the universe.

I would personally suggest feeding child and then eating my own meal in peace.

My kids talked alllll the time as toddlers, too. I learned to think my own thought and make little noncommittal noises periodically.

So, in summation, I recommend lowering your standards, which solves a lot of parenting dilemmas. ;-)

My little feral goblins roamed around eating Cheerios and goldfish crackers, and actually did turn out to be people who will eat everything and use utensils and all.

ysette9

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2020, 08:41:33 PM »
Iím so sorry you are dealing with this. We havenít experienced this exactly but the incessant repeating of the same thing over and over drives me UP THE WALL.

There are good suggestions here about being a good person and loving in an unlovable moment and all of that. Iím not that good of a person. Honestly if this were us we would give a warning or two and then go to timeout if the bitching didnít stop. After time out (when the child has calmed down) we go in and give a hug, reiterate that we love the child but the behavior isnít acceptable, and then they can come out and try again. We also use variations of offering incentives (ďif you do X then you can get a chocolate chip!Ē) or warning they could lose privileges (ďstop crying or you will lose your bedtime storyĒ).

I donít think this is what is going on in your case, but just a thought. I donít see a snack after afternoon nap. My kids wake up starving to death after nap and my oldest in particular has always been a horrible beast if she is hungry. She can get so hungry and so awfully behaved due to hunger that she will refuse to eat. (Yeah, try resolving that catch-22).

Bon courage.

reeshau

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2020, 07:09:00 AM »
Good ideas here so far, and yes you will have to try a bunch of things and see what sticks--your child may vary!

My Mom, a social worker by trade, made sure to steep us in the Love and Logic method,  one of the tenets there is to give children a degree of control.  Having influence on their circumstances helps them accept them.  This, of course, needs to have boundaries so that you aren't surprised by the choices--they are all acceptable to you.

So,It's never "what would you like for lunch?" but rather "would you like cauliflower or carrots?"  This is not only a choice for a favorite, but also keeping away something unwanted. (today)  Another variation would be "should we have cauliflower today or tomorrow?"  Then, remind them it was their choice when fussy.

This also works for bedtime,  Not just "It's bedtime!" or open-ended "shall we go to bed?" but rather "should we go to bed now, or in 10 minutes?"  (asked 10 minutes before scheduled bedtime)

Our DS, now 5, was relatively a good eater, but wasn't big on proteins.  We used stir-fry as a vehicle to get through this, and to introduce other new foods.  We played a game, where we took turns naming what to eat from the dish.  This meant you got to tell mommy and daddy what to do!  And if you wanted another turn, you had to take a chicken bite when mommy said--the game didn't progress until everyone had a bite.

The talking...yeah; if It's not food, it will be *something.*  Every young one in our extended family is a talker.

yachi

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #29 on: November 05, 2020, 08:11:20 AM »
Are you able to change the conversation to something more interesting?  I sometimes use dinnertime to catch up on what's going on with my little ones.  It sounds like the two of you are together almost all day, so there's probably not much he did that you didn't witness.  Maybe try ignoring his food talk and responding something like "we went to the park last week, what was your favorite part?" or, "Do you remember when we went to visit [family member]" My 2 year old has just started putting two or three word sentences together, so it wouldn't work for her, but this could be a gentle way of reinforcing that you don't want to hear comments on the food when you're sitting at the table.

yachi

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #30 on: November 05, 2020, 08:19:05 AM »
He helps me prep lunch and/or dinner most days. (Standing and watching mostly.) During this time he will announce things like, "I will only eat the rice. I will not eat the cauliflower." I will say, "OK" Then he will repeat this endlessly while I increasingly want to scream at him and box his ears.
"and I will only eat... [looking around the room] "the salt!" and make a funny face. 
"and I will only drink... [looking around the room] "the baby's bottle!" and make a funny face.

Laura33

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #31 on: November 05, 2020, 08:58:50 AM »
He helps me prep lunch and/or dinner most days. (Standing and watching mostly.) During this time he will announce things like, "I will only eat the rice. I will not eat the cauliflower." I will say, "OK" Then he will repeat this endlessly while I increasingly want to scream at him and box his ears.
"and I will only eat... [looking around the room] "the salt!" and make a funny face. 
"and I will only drink... [looking around the room] "the baby's bottle!" and make a funny face.

Absolutely brilliant!

Bonus points if the things are completely silly, like a stuffed elephant. 

That is exactly the type of distraction to defuse the situation that I always wished I could think of at the time but never could. 

TrMama

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #32 on: November 05, 2020, 02:09:06 PM »
Ugh, toddler and preschooler meals were awful. Thank goodness it's a temporary phase.

My only advice is to try to change his repeating narrative to something that doesn't push your buttons quite so much. My own kids use to loudly proclaim that tonight's dinner was "Gross! Disgusting!" with all the accompanying faces and gestures. It pushed my buttons and made me so angry. So I gave them words to express the concept that they didn't like the food that were tolerable to me. They were allowed to say, "Mom, I don't care for the carrots" AND they had to use a polite tone of voice.

Roadrunner53

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #33 on: November 05, 2020, 04:20:58 PM »
Of course this suggestion will be met with horrors but what if you allowed the kid to watch tv while eating lunch. Rather than make it a formal at the table lunch or dinner. Put a little table in front of the tv and turn on some cartoons or some fun educational show that kids like. You could build up the excitement of watching the show while eating maybe a half an hour before lunch so he will have his mind set on the show and not griping about what he is eating. This doesn't have to be a permanent solution. Maybe try it for a while then try to go back to eating at the table. Sometimes to keep your sanity you have to do things that might not be what you want to do.

chemistk

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #34 on: November 06, 2020, 05:49:52 AM »
Of course this suggestion will be met with horrors but what if you allowed the kid to watch tv while eating lunch. Rather than make it a formal at the table lunch or dinner. Put a little table in front of the tv and turn on some cartoons or some fun educational show that kids like. You could build up the excitement of watching the show while eating maybe a half an hour before lunch so he will have his mind set on the show and not griping about what he is eating. This doesn't have to be a permanent solution. Maybe try it for a while then try to go back to eating at the table. Sometimes to keep your sanity you have to do things that might not be what you want to do.

It's not horrible. Our kids occasionally get to watch a show at breakfast or at lunch. Sometimes there are other things to juggle, and dealing with a whiny kid does not help anyone get anything done.

I don't know that it will fit into OP's routine, but it's also not the worst thing in the world.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #35 on: November 06, 2020, 07:35:13 AM »
Considered response:

He is perfectly capable of nice mealtimes, which I think is probably why I get so wound up when it all goes pear shaped. We had a lovely lunch today during which he ate the bits he wanted and left the bits he didn't. There was minor chit chat but it didn't take forever. He dropped one bit of food and clearly considered crying about it and didn't. It was a gold star lunchtime and while we obviously won't have that at every meal, it would be nice if we could have a bronze star meal more often than not.

But this turdery predates our new schedule and the new schedule has vastly improved naptime, which is a higher priority for me.

Step one is that I clearly need to find some way of taking a chill pill. I think, actually, that I probably am pre-reacting at the first sign of irritating stuff and heaping all the baggage of every other time it's ever happened onto this new potential time. And probably at some point in the future, this will be a perverse source of warm fuzzy nostalgia for me.

I know this will be a phase and it's developmental and hey, rockstache and Jessa, DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE TIME that there was a box fan and some corned beef? He's very repetitive in ALL conversational contexts but somehow the food ones just push my buttons like nothing else. So maybe I should just poke him onto a different one of his tracks!

It's an on-off thing that been coming and going for a year or so but my sympathy has seriously waned as I think he's capable of behaving better - in a developmental way in general (because I have seen him do it!) even if not in an emotional way at any given moment.

I think I need to figure out a way to respond that will be a fun game for me. I like the idea of naming all the things we WON'T eat. I think Awdry will like that.

Step two is that I probably can make a bit more of an effort outside of mealtimes to 'fill his attention tank'. I don't think it does have to do with BabySLTD, really and truly in my heart or hearts, but it can't do any harm. He is definitely a "teddy bear", as someone so adorably put it, and I think I can certainly do more to give him control in other areas of his life too. Mainly by playing whatever game he wants without trying to nudge him towards something more fun ;)

Maybe it is a concatenation of changes. New routine, Mr SLTD being out part-time at college, bloody lockdown AGAIN... And not a 1:1 correlation between what's upsetting him and when he's upset.

Step three is to figure out what I can do to encourage/enable pleasantness at mealtimes. I don't want to reward good meals with a treat - previous experience of such rewards suggests it's heads he wins tails I lose in terms of getting upset about some microscopic infraction of our "agreement". I think he's not quite old enough to "get it" yet for something that's quite hypothetical.

Music is a nice idea. I think it will fill the auditory "hole" a bit and give us something to talk about that isn't food. On reflection, although I think I don't, I do talk about what we're eating quite a bit. While it's not value judgements on his eating, it's still talking about food so I need to STFU completely if I expect him to.

Giving him a choice of food is hard. We're on a super tight budget right now and therefore a super tight meal plan. And we tend to cook fairly one pot things because I CBA to cook a main and sides. We also don't do dessert. But I can try to figure out where we can give him choices. He gets to choose his bowl, for example.

I also think Mr SLTD and I can have fun teaching him new ways to express "I don't like it". "Mother, this food is distinctly unappetising. Might we reconsider?"

Step four is to draw a line about what is really unacceptable. He is very verbal and perfectly capable of expressing a huge variety of needs and preferences. I think it might need to be one warning and then if you don't TRY to use your words then you go and eat in the kitchen OR go for your nap/to bed right now. On the one hand that feels mean but on the other hand it feels like something I can do calmly and pleasantly without getting so wound up I shout at him and ruin the rest of the day.

I am thinking of making a sign, but Mr SLTD thinks that's OTT.

Jessa

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #36 on: November 06, 2020, 08:17:48 AM »
I also think Mr SLTD and I can have fun teaching him new ways to express "I don't like it". "Mother, this food is distinctly unappetising. Might we reconsider?"

If you get him to do this, I need a video.

Step one is that I clearly need to find some way of taking a chill pill. I think, actually, that I probably am pre-reacting at the first sign of irritating stuff and heaping all the baggage of every other time it's ever happened onto this new potential time. And probably at some point in the future, this will be a perverse source of warm fuzzy nostalgia for me.

Legit, things are extra stressful on YOU with MrSLTD being gone overnights and with the lockdown. Regardless of whether Awdry cares. And honestly, I am a way better mother because I work full time outside the house and am away from my kids for long stretches of time. Even three day weekends really draw down my patience. So the fact that you have ANY patience left after being a SAHM for the last several years and being with your kids all day every day, is amazing to me. If getting frustrated at his meal commentary is the worst that happens...I still think you're a saint.

rockstache

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #37 on: November 06, 2020, 08:30:20 AM »
If getting frustrated at his meal commentary is the worst that happens...I still think you're a saint.

This.

Your whole last post really highlights what a thoughtful, loving, and hard-working parent you are. Examining your own behaviors and thinking/sourcing outside the box is extremely difficult and you are doing a great job.

concatenation

Wow, great word. American English is so...lacking.

Laura33

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #38 on: November 06, 2020, 08:53:59 AM »
If getting frustrated at his meal commentary is the worst that happens...I still think you're a saint.

This.

Your whole last post really highlights what a thoughtful, loving, and hard-working parent you are. Examining your own behaviors and thinking/sourcing outside the box is extremely difficult and you are doing a great job.

+1.  I had no idea that Mr. SLTD was now gone so much.  That puts a ton more stress on you -- particularly in lockdown, when you lose so many of your normal distraction and entertainment options, and you have a tight budget that doesn't allow you to outsource some of your sources of stress.  So I now change all of my advice to "figure out how to get some more time to take care of yourself."  Hugs.

One other thing caught my eye: 

Quote
He is perfectly capable of nice mealtimes, which I think is probably why I get so wound up when it all goes pear shaped.

This is where your adult logic is taking you down the wrong path.  Something I learned during the teenage years:  12 is halfway between 4 and 20.  But that doesn't mean a 12-yr-old behaves like she's halfway between 4 and 20.  It means that half the time your 12-yr-old will act like a 20-yr old, and half the time she will act like a 4-yr-old -- they don't average so much as they bounce between the two extremes.  Increased maturity just means you're increasing the percentage of time they spend on the 20-yr-old end of the spectrum.

IOW:  it's fabulous that your kid is capable of nice mealtimes!  You've done a great job, and you've managed to create expectations and routines that are age-appropriate!  But he's still going to be a total turdlet and fail to meet those eminently reasonable expectations on a regular (yet completely and annoyingly unpredictable) basis.  Because that is also age-appropriate behavior.

rockstache

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #39 on: November 06, 2020, 10:40:41 AM »
Something I learned during the teenage years:  12 is halfway between 4 and 20.  But that doesn't mean a 12-yr-old behaves like she's halfway between 4 and 20.  It means that half the time your 12-yr-old will act like a 20-yr old, and half the time she will act like a 4-yr-old -- they don't average so much as they bounce between the two extremes.  Increased maturity just means you're increasing the percentage of time they spend on the 20-yr-old end of the spectrum.

This is stunningly brilliant! As a parent to a very young child, I sincerely thank you for passing this on to me so early!

shelivesthedream

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #40 on: November 06, 2020, 10:59:21 AM »
Just popping in to report that it took one time for "I don't care for that today, thank you Mummy" to enter his vocabulary. But he is also now whispering "dark earwax, light earwax" to himself. At least he's clearly our kid...!
« Last Edit: November 06, 2020, 11:01:06 AM by shelivesthedream »

Jessa

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #41 on: November 06, 2020, 11:52:52 AM »
Just popping in to report that it took one time for "I don't care for that today, thank you Mummy" to enter his vocabulary. But he is also now whispering "dark earwax, light earwax" to himself. At least he's clearly our kid...!

ROTFL <3 <3 <3

Luz

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #42 on: November 06, 2020, 08:18:36 PM »
My 2.5 year-old repeats herself endlessly too. It makes me a little crazy. So I set up a boundary for my sanity and so I don't lose it with her. I respond 1 time with my best, most loving answer to whatever it is. And then I just step back and let her keep repeating it. If she starts to whine or cry because I'm not continuing to respond, I say: "you're welcome to whine and cry on your bed, let me know when you are finished and you can join us again".

I'm wondering about his sleep schedule. Is he high sleep needs? 14+ hours seems like a lot for his age. Many kids move to 12 hours total sleep by 2.5-3 years (though the range is 10-13 according to the (US) National Sleep Foundation). Mine does 10.5 hrs overnight and 1.5 hrs nap. Once overnight sleep falls below 10.5 hours (early wakings or taking forever to get to sleep), or if she stops sleeping for her nap, I'll drop her nap and move up bedtime 12 hours before morning wake time.

With sleep, they talk about being "prop free" meaning that the kid does the work to get to sleep without the parent's help. I think mealtimes also benefit from low parental involvement.

I'm pretty no-nonsense:
-I just put a plate of what everyone else is eating in front of her.
-She can eat it or not after she takes a testing bite of each food.
-She refused the testing bite when I first implemented that. So I sat at the table with her and said "you're welcome to get down once you take a taste of your food". We sat there for a half an hour with me not saying much at all and her protesting. But she eventually took the bite and now it's not an issue. 
-If she doesn't want to eat it after tasting it, she can say "no thank you"
-If she says "all done", I say "great! we'll wash you up after everyone is done eating"
-If she wants more of a certain food (fruit, cheese, pasta), but there's still food on her plate, I say "yes! you can have more ____ when you finish what's on your plate"
-She sits in her booster seat and nowhere else. Everyone in the family kind of has a chair they always sit in, so I say "that's PapŠ's dinner chair, this is yours"
-If she wanted her food cooled, I'd make sure it's not going to burn her and then say "you can blow on it if you'd like" If she wanted me to blow on it, I'd say "I'll blow on mine, you blow on yours"
-If she dawdled, I'd say "after lunch it's time to read your before-nap book" I'll give a heads up or two as the time approaches and then say "ok, it's time to clean up so we can read our book. You can have more food at snack time"








Cassie

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #43 on: November 10, 2020, 10:11:44 AM »
The sleep schedule sounds right to me. My 3 kids went to bed at 7pm and got up between 6-7 am and took a nap from 12-3 until starting kindergarten at age five.  Kids tend to repeat things endlessly at this age. Responding each time is not necessary.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #44 on: November 11, 2020, 01:19:52 AM »
OK, I think I've discovered the root cause. Applied advice and chill pill. Things were getting better. Mr SLTD is not going in overnight any more during lockdown, just for the morning. Woo hoo, thinks I, MORE Daddy-at-home time. Today was the first day of the new regime. Awdry LOST IT over breakfast. Urrrrgggghhhh....

Jessa

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #45 on: November 11, 2020, 03:02:23 AM »
OK, I think I've discovered the root cause. Applied advice and chill pill. Things were getting better. Mr SLTD is not going in overnight any more during lockdown, just for the morning. Woo hoo, thinks I, MORE Daddy-at-home time. Today was the first day of the new regime. Awdry LOST IT over breakfast. Urrrrgggghhhh....

Blech. Routine change is routine change, even when the new routine is better. Poor Awdry and poor you!

Also one of Hawkling's things lately is an insistence that he doesn't like tomatoes. Mind you, he gobbled them up from my dad's garden all summer, and we went through a lot if them at home and he loved them. Now he tells us all the time that he doesn't like them. Even when we are not eating any and haven't in weeks...it's baffling and and somewhat irritating, and it makes me think of you whenever he does it!

Plugging Along

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Re: Toddler mealtime anguish
« Reply #46 on: November 11, 2020, 08:03:37 AM »
Meal cans be frustrating in so many ways.   One thing we did when our kids were little was have their favourite stuffies come to eat with us.   However, they were expected to show proper manners.    I would Ďvoiceí  their stuffies at the dinner table.  To teach my kids the proper behaviour, I would have the stuffie act inappropriate to the extreme.   I would tell my toddler that I donít know stuffie could join us because it isnít acting okay, thatís if she didnít already start correctly.   We would take the time to show stuffie how he needs to act and why.   Sometimes the offending stuff animal woild need to sit and think, but they always learned.

My teen stills loves her stuffies and sometimes they join us at the table for a little entertainment or as an ice breaker.   Talking and discipline through her toys worked really well when she was little.