I realize that most toddlers like to throw their food on to the floor, but Baby-Ko is definitely testing his limits in this department these days. I’ve started to sit him at the table, on a booster seat, without the tray. I place his food on an (overpriced, but darling and alphabet laden) place mat, in hopes that my royal highness will enjoy his cut up (overpriced, but nitrate free) chicken nuggets without picking up his (overpriced, but supposedly ergonomic or some shit) fork and chucking it across the room for no real good reason.
Unfortunately though, there seems to be nothing I can say or do lately to stop him from throwing said fork and the entire place mat with food on all over the floor. I’ve begged, pleaded, tried to reason, tried to distract, sung, danced, and even bribed. Doesn’t matter: Without fail, meal time has turned in to a food fight. Literally.
But yesterday, it occurred to me that there might be one thing that will teach him a lesson: The Monster. The VACUUM Monster. Baby-Ko has neeeeeeeever liked the sound (or even sight for that matter) of the Vacuum. In fact, I rarely vacuum in his presence (oh, who am I kidding. I rarely vacuum AT ALL), just because it freaks him out so much and I feel bad. But last night, mean mommy surfaced and I decided to play hardball. After chucking his chopped spinach (which BTW, ain’t so easy to just pick up off of carpet), and mac and cheese across the room, I said “that’s it! Now mommy has to vacuum!” So I went and got the vacuum, and while Baby-Ko sat in his chair, I vacuumed everything around him. He did cry a little bit and said “no mo vack-oom,” but he eventually calmed down. I put it away and looked him in the eye and said, “When you throw food, Mommy has to vacuum. Okay? No more throwing food.” I kissed him on the head and put out strawberries. Without missing a beat he held one up and said, “Mo vack-oom. NOOO!” and stuffed it in his mouth. Friggin‘ genius. Mom-Mission Accomplished!
But alas, my hopes and dreams of being the smartest (but still dirtiest, of course) mommy on the block was thwarted, when breakfast time became battle time today. What started off as a calm and very un-messy meal, turned in to scrambled egg and melon hurricane. Before the storm hit, I praised Baby-Ko for keeping his food on his place mat and eating it like such a big boy (adding and naming every one of his friends that also eat like big boys). But minutes later, toddler-ness kicked in and “eggies” went flying.
“That’s it!” I said not effing around. “I have to vacuum. We do not throw food. When Baby-Ko throws food, Mommy has to vacuum.”
“No!!” He cried as I got out the Monster. “Mommy no!”
But I did it. I got out the vacuum despite how scared he actually looked. Suddenly I felt AWFUL. Who am I, Joan Crawford???!?! He clearly hates the vacuum. (It does make a really screechy kind of awful sound that bothers me too actually). I mean, I know this is just a phase – the throwing food everywhere – so should I be letting it go? Should I give up on trying to have a clean carpet? Is he too young to be taught a lesson? Is my vacuum method cruel and unusual punishment???
PLEASE parents, advise. Tell me what YOU do with your toddlers when they throw food, and clearly know they’re not supposed to.
Oh, and PS…. If you have suggestions on how to teach your kid not to eat markers, feel free to throw that in too….
FILED UNDER: A Little Life
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If you feel too bad about it, though, remember this: in the grand scheme of things, this phase is pretty short-lived. Whether you use the vacuum or not, I guarantee that he won't still be throwing food when you send him off to kindergarten - or even at this time next year. :)