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.

July 29, 2011 Posted by | Daniel, Developmental stuff, food | , , , , | 6 Comments

Nirvana

1193457_cloudGronk sits in his high chair. He’s close enough to the table where the rest of the children sit so that he can feel part of things, and far enough away that he can’t steal their toys, eat the playdough remnants, or pull the twinkly barrettes out of Emily’s hair, along with a goodly portion of the chunk of hair it was holding.

(“Oh, Emily! It’s okay to cry, sweetie. That must’ve hurt!”)

Give the size of my dining room, however, there is no way to keep him removed from the dog’s crate. The dog’s crate, which houses the dog whenever she decides to wander in there for a snooze, a gnaw of a bone, or just a little peace.

So. Toddlers at table with the playdough, Gronk in high chair, dog in crate.

Gronk has his bottle and a few toys on his tray. His bottle holds his attention for the first few minutes, but he’s done long before the toddlers are finished with playdough. I’m not about to set him loose: the benches are pulled out from the table. For Gronk, that’s a clear invitation to indulge in some table-dancing. (Followed, inevitably, by some table-falling-off-of, some lumping-on-the-heading, and some roaring-with-outrage. But he never thinks of any of that…)

Not to worry. Gronk being the eager little Cave Man he is, after a mere half-dozen shrieks of boredom finds a new game: dropping things off his tray. A very old game, really, as any parent of a 6 – 16 26-month-old child still in a high chair can testify. (It may be old, but it never gets old!!!)

Only this game has a New and Exciting Twist! Gronk is not dropping things to the floor, oh, no! Gronk is dropping things onto the dog, relaxing in her crate beside him. Thankfully, anything Gronk gets while in a high chair is vetted for its projectile capabilities: that is, all items are soft and lightweight. The dog is not being injured. Just the reverse: Small chewable object raining down from above? Manna from heaven! WONDERFUL!

And Gronk? Watching the dog grab the toys and rip them to bits? WONDERFUL! This is a symbiotic relationship. These two are kindred spirits. It’s not so wonderful for those little soft toys, though, quickly becoming a soggy mass of multi-coloured fluff in the bottom of her crate.

I, however, am nothing if not creative. This game works in so many ways: keeps the caveman away from the playdough, allows the toddlers to continue an absorbing game, and entertains the gronkster. Only the fate of the poor stuffed toys prevents it from being perfect. Oh, that and the fact that sooner or later I will have to crawl in the dog’s crate and haul all that stuff out.

But still. Except for that one flaw, this game is not a problem, it’s a solution! How to make it a total solution?

It’s all in the choice of toy, folks. Instead of smallish toys that can fit between the wires of her crate… larger toys that won’t. True, he doesn’t get to watch the dog tear them up, but! Once dropped, he can reach over the side of his chair and PICK THEM UP AGAIN!!! So he can throw them over and over and over and ooooover again! Baby nirvana! (And I don’t have to pick them up for him! Mary nirvana!)

And sometimes???? Sometimes the dog reaches up and tries to pull them down through the bars into her crate!!!!!! This is ABSOLUTE WONDERFULNESS!!!

Twenty-four minutes, people. This game kept the boy busy for TWENTY-FOUR MINUTES.

Nirvana, indeed.

October 6, 2009 Posted by | Mischief | , , , , , | 4 Comments