It’s Not All Mary Poppins

He’s a tosser

You know how I’ve said that Daniel is a tank? Built on the square plan? Obviously likes his food?

He is. He does. All that. A boy as solid as he is does not turn his nose up at food. Put food on his tray, his big blue eyes light right up.

FOOD! He knows what to do with FOOD!!!!

Throw it on the floor! (Of course. Why? Did you have a different idea?) And then my job, see, my job is to pick it up and give it back to him! So he can throw it again!!!!

Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!

Much as he loves to eat, he loves to toss even more. Doesn’t matter what it is: cheerios, apple slices, bottles (toys, books, a jar of cherries) … put it on the tray, and within a second or two, it’s on the floor.

Isn’t this FUN???!?

Wellllll… no. Not when you’re over two years old or so. I am a loooooong ways past two years old or so. So very long past that this game is fun precisely… never. Not even the first time. Because I’ve seen this game so very, very, very, very, very many times in my life, you know? And I know that for the child, it just never gets old. I’ve tried indulging them, doing it for a while, assuming that eventually the child will decide it’s time to eat. It just never happens. Well, maybe it would, but I sure don’t know how long that would take. I’ve never had the patience to find out. This game, it does not grab me.

I do remember playing fetch with my eldest. I was a new mother, this was my much-beloved first child, and for a while, it was fun! It wasn’t the game, of course, it was my Love For My Child. Her eyes just sparkled with glee! And that chortle, when I dipped down below the high chair tray and popped back up again with whatever it was. So cute!!! I loved it! Her excited flapping when I plonked the item back on the tray. Beyond adorable. I laughed, awash with fond maternal adoration. My.Child.Was.SO.CUTE!!!!

I loved it. For about six repeats I loved it. Maybe ten. And then (proving that adult attention spans are woefully inferior to that of a 7-month-old, or at least mine is) I got bored. I had wrung every morsel of fun out of this game, and now? Now it was just tedious. Yeah, she was still sparkling, chortling and flapping. But me, I’d had enough of bending and stretching, dipping and plonking. Bored. Bored, bored, bored.

You know what? This game doesn’t get any more exciting with the passage of time.

She’s 25 now, so I think I can safely say that the last time I enjoyed Mommy Go Fetch was 24.6 years ago. Moreover, I now have five under-threes ringed around my table. Do I want them re-discovering the joys of flinging food? I do NOT. Can you imagine? Lunch times five all over the floor? The dogs would love it, but me? Not such a fan.

Not all kids play this game, of course, but Daniel, he LOVES it. Loves it, loves it, loves it. It is pretty clear that in Daniel’s wee mind, high chair trays were specifically designed with that game in mind.

Yeah. Whee. Fun.

His level of persistence and enthusiasm suggests to me that his parents are not attention-challenged like me. I suspect they play this game and love it, right along with him. Isn’t that so cute? (Really. I think it is. His parents are lovely people, almost as adorable as their son, and the picture of them all laughing together with delight at this mind-numbing simple game is truly a lovely one.) Sadly for Daniel, the game that is delight and love for the three of them makes my brain melt.

So here, when food is tossed to the floor, I sing-song, “No-no, Daniel! Food stays ON the tray. ON,” as I pop it firmly back on the tray.

Of course, Daniel greets the return of the food with glee, because I AM PLAYING THE GAME!!!! And then he dumps it on the floor again. Of course. And then, oh, poor, poor Daniel, then I say, “Oh, I guess you’re not hungry!” in the cheeriest of tones, and I lift him down and set him on the floor. “Away you go and play!”

He stands there, puzzlement turning to confusion morphing into dismay, as I continue feeding the others. You can see the thought process.

“Wait! That’s not supposed to happen! What’s wrong with her? Doesn’t she know the rules?!?! W.T.F???”

I give him a minute or two to wallow in all this before I pop him back in the high chair for round two. So far, round two goes pretty much the way round one did. Food on tray, food tossed from tray… only this time I don’t plonk the food back on his tray, not even once. No, this time we go straight to “I guess you’re not hungry after all!” No second chances on round two. Round three? There is no round three. After round two, he’s done with the high chair until the next meal or snack.

He’s still not quite sure what the hell is going on… except that it’s wrong. Just, just, just WRONG!!! The boy is flabbergasted. Gob-smacked, even. (And that? THAT I find entertaining.)

But, confusing or not, you know what? When you’ve missed out on morning snack because it was more exciting to toss it on the floor… by the time lunchtime rolls around, you’re much TOO HUNGRY to even think of tossing it on the floor.

Mwah-ha. My evil plan is working.

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July 29, 2011 - Posted by | Daniel, Developmental stuff, food | , , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. Oh, I’m so relieved that I’m not the only person who deals with the throw-it game in this way. My 20 month old niece plays this at every. single. meal. and snack, and my response is always “oh well, guess you’re not hungry!”… she’s stubborn too, so some days she doesn’t eat very much. I just… can’t. Lately I’ve been feeling kind of guilty. But since you’re my guru, I am now giving myself permission to put the little angel on the floor.

    I don’t think we should force ourselves to do stuff that makes us want to pull our hair out by the roots. Well, not non-essential stuff. Multiple feeds in the night had the same effect on me, but even sleep-loving me concedes that feeding my baby is unequivocally essential. Mama/Auntie Go Fetch? NOT essential.

    (I’m your guru? I’m so flattered!)

    Comment by hodgepodge | July 29, 2011 | Reply

  2. This made me laugh out loud! DD hasn’t gotten to that stage yet but i’m going to remember this if she ever does. I have a bad back so bending down multiple times pick up food or items is just not an option.

    Well, there you go. You have an ironclad alibi for consistent refusal to ever play this game!

    Comment by Melissa V | July 29, 2011 | Reply

  3. Lol! so true about 1st time mamas loving the game… am curious though… does ‘tosser’ mean the same on your side of the pond? here (in the Scottish vernacular) it is used as an offensive term for a man, particularly referencing a fondness for pleasuring himself… just wondering – my uni thesis was on rude words in Chilean Spanish, so call it a (peculiar, granted) interest of mine… :-D

    HA! We don’t use the term in Canada (well, certainly not where I live, in Ontario), but I did know that, for people from the UK, it’s a pejorative. So, yes, I was sort of entertaining myself with the pun, but I had NO IDEA that’s what it meant! No idea at all. Guess the joke’s on me. Mwah-ha. :D

    (It’s like ‘wanker’, then. That’s another UK term not in use here, and one of my all-time favourite words, not so much because of what it means but just because I find the word itself funny. Wanker, wanker, wanker. Snort.)

    And I LOVE your thesis topic. Heh. Did it remain fun throughout, or did the process of churning out something of significant intellectual merit take some of the play out of the game?

    Comment by Gillian | July 29, 2011 | Reply

    • LOL again! Tosser, wanker, pretty much the same thing… to me, wanker is slightly less venomous than tosser, but that may just be me… both good words… (I love words!)

      So yeah, the thesis… I probably could have cared less about the word I was studying (huevón) by the end of the process, but now, some *cough* ten years later, I again find it fascinating. The word can be really deeply offensive, or a term of endearment, or somewhere in between. Its origin was ‘one who has large testicles’ and now can refer to a friend – or an enemy – or a friend who is not a friend. It can be a noun, a verb, adjective, and the only ones who can really get away with using it are Chileans! Have added a link if anyone wants to read more…

      http://www.contactchile.cl/en/chile-chilean-slang.php

      Anyways, sorry Mary, for hijacking your post about toddler behaviour with a discussion of rude words. Interesting though, that so many pejorative terms for blokes involve their little boy bits ;-)

      Comment by Gillian | July 29, 2011 | Reply

  4. Gillian beat me to the remark about the use of the word “tosser”. I watch a lot of t.v. from the UK and know of its slang tendencies – though I too was enlightened by Gillian, I didn’t know it meant THAT either. Still, I thought your title was a good play on words.

    As for the “I-throw-it-You-pick-it-up” game, yeah…I hear ya. I got bored with that one real quick too, even with my first. It was adorable the first two times we played it but then it just wasn’t fun anymore, well for me anyway.

    Love your toddler thought process, easy to tell you’ve been exposed to more than your share.

    “Wait! That’s not supposed to happen! What’s wrong with her? Doesn’t she know the rules?!?! W.T.F???”

    Hehehehehe.

    Great post.

    Comment by Sheri | July 29, 2011 | Reply

  5. GASP! But, but! He might not get enough to EAT!

    Kidding, of course. But I know people who will do anything to ensure that a child eats –eats something!– including… that game.

    Evan is fascinated right now by this game, but he really loves to eat (to the point of launching into an obligatory tantrum as soon as I start to scrape the last bite out of his bowl), and it didn’t take him long to find that Mommy-go-fetch gets him nowhere fast.

    Comment by rosie_kate | July 29, 2011 | Reply


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