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Can someone please reassure and/or advise me about my daughter's APPALLING... well, I hesitate to call them 'table manners'...

(15 Posts)
Flowerface Fri 10-Jun-11 19:13:02

She is 18 months old. She is very bright, and very knowing and I KNOW that she is pushing my buttons and I am being a very rewarding wind-up target by getting wound up. Tonight I made her favourite chicken and cream sauce. She moved the spoon towards her mouth smilingly before flicking it onto the floor and laughing. I told her off, she laughed. I decided to ignore it... After a while she moved on to frenzied kicking... Same thing. The whole episode culminated with her handing me handfuls of food saying "no... no....". Finally I flung a raspberry out of the back door which, having got down, she went and retrieved for me, saying "no".

I mean, in one sense, you have to laugh, but in another respect I am in moderate despair. I always thought I'd be one of those parents who fearlessly took their children to restaurants, but even Pizza Express would be scary right now. I am incapable of exercising any meaningful discipline as the result is either laughter or tears (mainly laughter, let's face it).

Am I expecting too much? What is the correct response to a child who does the EXACT THING they know always winds you up?! Presumably not to get wound up, and yet...

Horror stories would also be very gratefully received. I have a friend whose daughter sits at a mini table next to theirs eating quietly as they eat at the separate table... This kind of thing compounds my despair, frankly.

Chundle Fri 10-Jun-11 19:16:08

Hmm in honesty here I think you may be expecting a bit much. My 22 month old is terrible eater. Even my 7 year old dd makes a mess smile they are kids they are meant to I say let them while they are young stick a big splash mat under them and relax smile

Flowerface Fri 10-Jun-11 19:19:34

Hmm, you may be right. I know I am making it worse by giving such a satisfying reaction. But there is a difference between making a mess accidentally and doing it on purpose, surely?

itsatiggerday Fri 10-Jun-11 19:20:45

Well I would say my 3yr old sometimes exhibits behaviour I'd struggle to call manners. Having said that I have never accepted throwing food, largely because I can't bear the waste. But rather than get wound up, I simply remove the plate out of reach. If they ask for it back, then I calmly say, "only if you eat it, or I will take it away. Are you going to eat it?" They get 2 warnings and then I finish the meal if they do it a third time. Good luck!

pepperrabbit Fri 10-Jun-11 19:26:47

Sounds to me like she's having fun at your expense!
If this has been going on for a while and she's just not eating very much which is why you're worried then you need to change your routine. if she's eating plenty and winding you up at the same time you need to create some distance.
I think they all go through the throwing on the floor stage cos it's hilarious and mummy gets cross.
With mine, I'd try to sit next to them, but ignore them, either getting on with my own food, or reading a newspaper. Only engage if they're eating nicely, ignore bad behaviour. throw away any food on the floor, (I hve low standards and normally pick up if it's an accident blush). <you are allowed to rescue them if they're choking...!>
If the behaviour is really really bad then I have to leave the room rather than shout/react.
But she is very little to expect table manners smile

Flowerface Fri 10-Jun-11 19:29:33

Yes, I think I am paying her too much attention. She generally eats before us in the evening, since she goes to bed at 7 and DH only gets home at 6.30. I should read a paper rather than stare at her.
Her eating is variable, in terms of what she actually consumes. It used to be quite good, and now it's quite rubbish but I have tried to tell myself that it's my job to provide nutritious and edible food, not to force her to eat it...

Chundle Fri 10-Jun-11 19:33:11

Flower don't stress too much if she declines food, my dd has spent last 2 days saying no and yuck to food I give her! So she goes without! Then she screams for her plate back and eats it after a while!

itsatiggerday Fri 10-Jun-11 20:51:22

If she's eaten well up till now I wouldn't worry too much, IME they go through phases of appetite. If mine throw food repeatedly tends to indicate they're not that hungry. Def try to find something else to do, I sometimes save the washing up to do while they eat so I can chat with them but be a bit diverted rather than too focused on each mouthful. Have to say I find it easier now with 2 as I can ignore behaviour by talking to the other one.

skybluepearl Fri 10-Jun-11 21:06:08

its normal for kids to play with the texture of food. i think if she is chucking food out of the high chair though she isn't hungry and you should take it away and give her a toy.

Flisspaps Fri 10-Jun-11 21:17:07

She's 18 months and is too little to know that you're not playing when you tell her 'no'. She's exhibiting a sense of humour, and has learned the art of sharing (whether you want to share or not) and the physical dexterity required to flick.

And she's clever, you tell her off for throwing her food - she told you off for throwing it too wink

You could try having a small snack with her at teatime (rather than reading the paper), if you're eating then she might be more inclined to eat too rather than launch her dinner. And then you might be less inclined to waste a perfectly nice raspberry grin

gourd Sat 11-Jun-11 11:07:06

Aw, she's really still a baby at 18 mo! I'm sure it's normal for babies to throw food and also not to eat everything that's offered. And I think she'll enjoy any attention - even if it's for a "bad" reason not good. I agree with the last poster - reading the paper or doing kitchen chores/cleaning etc whilst she's eating will tell her you're not paying her any attention, so she will throw food just to get your attention! I'd have a cup of tea and some fruit or something whilst sitting with her and talk to her whilst she's eating and see if that helps. I'd also not worry about making anything special for her or making her "favourite" meal, as I expect her favourite, and also her appetite will not be the same from day to day, and it will only irritate you if she refuses a meal when you've gone to lots of trouble. Just let her have whatever's in the fridge, or whatever you're eating and then you won't feel quite so fed up if she doesn't eat it!

gourd Sat 11-Jun-11 11:10:57

Oh forgot to say - you CAN go out for meals, but if she starts throwing, just take away the food, as she doesn't want it, and quickly replace with a toy or book as someone else said - a distraction is always good. After she's had a break and particularly if you are still eating and look like you're enjoying it, she may even decide she wants a bit more anyway and I'm sure she will let you know if she does!

colditz Sat 11-Jun-11 11:13:05

Take ythe food away and end the meal. If she's throwing food, she isn't hungry. Hunger is a biological imperitive and it will be met before play starts.

Flowerface Sat 11-Jun-11 19:20:43

Yes, I think the real problem is that she isn't very interested in food at the moment, and it does worry me, as she is massively energetic and seems to be eating like a small bird. On the other hand, there can't be anything too much wrong, can there, if she is so energetic? So I suppose the thing is just to keep trying her with food and TRY not to stress...?!

It was my greatest fear that she wouldn't be a good (which means enthusiastic, I suppose) eating, I find it quite infuriating, though not really sure why.

boysrock Sat 11-Jun-11 19:30:44

Heehee "go to rrestaurants" with an 18mo. We haven't been to one as a family since ds was 6mo. He can be a nightmare, and likes to live on fressh air. The other two who were gannets could be relied upon to behave due to the main attraction of food.

For goodness sake dont give her anymore ideas by throwing food yourself (or feeding the dog). She doesn't see food as that interesting to eat so playing with it is more entertaining.

A case of ridiing it out I'm afraid, and macdonalds for family meals out - far from michelin starred but very family friendly. Dh and I are resigned to not having family meals out. It is a waste of money and too stressful.
I'm looking forward to the day when he's older and we can all go out to a nice restaurant together for sunday lunch.

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