molly has entered a stage where she does not want anything to interrupt her playing. all she wants to do is play or read books. lately, eating has been interfering with her playing and therefore she refuses to eat. anything. okay, maybe a bite or two but really, it's nothing. she will sit in her highchair, buck back like a bronco and say "play". i've told molly she can't play until she eats her food. now, i'm not a stickler about finishing everything on your plate, that's a poor eating habit to get into anyway. but, she does need to eat something. the other night for example, she ate 1/2 a banana and was done. didn't touch her sandwich. molly sat in the highchair that night for close to 45 minutes. it was hard not to give in and just let her get down and play but finally, she ate, played, and was a happy girl.
tonight we repeated this scenario but without the positive effects. molly refused to eat anything but a bite of her egg. she then just kept crying and saying play. i told her she wasn't playing until she ate her food. finally, after about 35 minutes i got her down and stuck her in the bath tub. now, i'm not a total meanie - she did get to play with her bath toys. but when she told me she was finished in the tub she started to cry again. i asked her why she was crying and she said "play". i then asked her why she didn't get to play and what she didn't do and she said, "eat". i don't think my punishment was too harsh for my almost 20 month old. she understood perfectly why she didn't get to play. the best part and really, the truest test came after she was out of the tub. i was cleaning off her tray and tidying up a bit and guess what, molly didn't touch her toys. i didn't even remind her. she just knew. after i finished up we read some books and now she's in bed without a fuss!
while the 35 minute stretch seemed to be much longer it was worth sticking to my guns. maybe tomorrow will be a better dinner experience. consistency can be a parent's best friend!