Monday, December 04, 2006

Dinner and a Show!

Not sure what changed for the Drew Monster in the past two months, but getting him to eat has been quite the enterprise. If we don't shovel the food into his cake-hole fast enough, he screams. If we don't shovel the right food into his cake-hole fast enough, he screams. Sometimes he screams because he's bored with the whole process. Sometimes he just wants to hear his high-pitched yell bounce of the walls. So, we've had to get creative at the high chair.

We've done variety, both in the jars-of-mush and finger foods categories. This works when he has the patience for it, which isn't often enough to make Momma and Daddy happy. When is this kid going to be able to feed himself? I need to do some research and figure out some other tips and average timelines, just so I know if we've managed to ignore some big milestone or great trick.

We've tried to get him to stop screaming. This is next to impossible since his toddler mind can barely wrap itself around the concept of No as in "Don't touch that!" No as in "Will you please shut up" seems to be a bit too much for him to comprehend. And this tactic often results in getting Momma and Daddy worked up as well, so we've put it aside for the moment.

In the past two weeks, we've tried entertaining El Boyo Diablo. This works phenomenally well because when Drewbie is distracted and not paying attention to the whole feeding process, his mouth automatically opens when a spoonful of something or other gets near it. We give him empty food containers to play with. Momma and Daddy make all sorts of funny noises and faces. We let the boy amuse himself by stuffing the fruit puffs in our mouths for a change (I've gotten a lot of fiber and iron and zinc this way).

While it's nice to have found something that works more often than not at getting food down Drew's gullet, I know it's a temporary fix. Mainly because it doesn't seem to be teaching the little guy how to feed himself, and I'm not going to keep this up until he's 5.


Andi said...

Well, there's always the option of pretending not to notice him screaming. If you react, he knows he can get your attention - negative or positive. If you don't react, he has to figure out how to get you to pay attention, and he might choose something you can deal with (i.e., picking up food by himself).

I know it's rough, but I did it with a little boy I had to baby-sit before. He would scream and lie on the floor kicking if I wouldn't let him eat away from the table. Taking him back to the table over and over didn't work (save to frustrate me), so I finally just left him kicking on the floor and finished eating at the table myself. When I didn't respond, he eventually gave up and came to the table.

What can I say? Operant conditioning isn't just effective for animals. *-*

Kellie said...

That works great for tantrums away from the table, which he's cut back on since we stopped responding to his screaming. Hasn't worked for chow times yet (particularly since part of the screaming is to toss everything on his tray overboard), but I certainly try, especially when it's just me feeding him.

Anonymous said...

I have always found that distraction worked best for me along with silly voices and silly songs(you know popular tunes-like Queen's we will rock you to the chorus of Drew will- drew will -eat this-- eat this. Never hurts just to let go of the jar foods for just finger foods like cheeses, crackers and the like--maybe he's just not into the mush textures. It is a constant never-ending day to day minute to minute challenge that never ceases to be a constant. L-AG