it’s not about bananas; toddlers can obey

June 21, 2008 at 4:18 pm 6 comments

Jackson, 19 months old, has been throwing his food on the floor every since he started eating from his high chair. So in other words, a long time. Every time he would throw something, I would say “No, no, we don’t throw our food on the floor.”

This is getting old . He is old enough to understand every word that I say and to learn to not throw his food on the floor.

On Sunday, I decided Jackson was not going to throw his food on the floor anymore. He ate a banana and dropped the last unwanted mushy inch on the floor. I let him out of his chair and told him that he needed to pick up the banana and give it to me. He approached it, leaned down as if he was going to pick it up, then he reared back and ran away and stood in the corner, pouting.

hmm, I thought.

I called him and he didn’t come so I picked him up and placed him in front of the banana. He threw himself down on the floor and cried.

I put him back in his high chair and told him that we don’t throw food on the floor and that he needed to pick up his banana and I let him back down our of his chair again. I told him he could go play if he picked up the banana. Nope, not happening. He ran away. Again I put him in his chair and just left the room for a couple minutes.

We repeated this scenario several times. Finally, I put him in his crib and got him out every ten minutes. By this time, my husband finally asked me what was going on. He wondered if Jackson could really understand what I was asking him to do.

Oh yes, that little booger knows exactly what I wanted him to do and he refused to obey. He fetches things all the time. He knows how to pick things up off the floor and bring them to me. He even takes things to the garbage can when I ask him to. He understands commands and obeys. (sometimes).

This was a battle. He was testing his limits. He was seeing if I was serious or not. He didn’t care about the banana. He didn’t want to pick it up just because I told him to. He’s a toddler and that’s what toddlers do. I, the parent, need to show him who is in charge.

Every time I got him out of bed and told him he needed to pick up the banana, he stiffened his body and threw himself on the floor and reared his head back and cried. When he did this, I just scooped him up and put him back in bed. I was beginning to think that he might go to sleep for the night and we would have to continue it in the morning.

It was dinnertime and pizza was on the table. I put Jackson in his high chair. He was very interested in eating pizza. I told him he had to pick up the banana and then he could have some pizza. I let him out of his chair, and he picked up that banana and handed it to me. I put him back in his chair and gave him pizza.

My husband said, he does know what you’re talking about.

After a couple of minutes, he threw his crust on the floor. Uh-oh. Old habits are hard to break. I told him we don’t throw our food on the floor. He picked it immediately.

YEAH. Success. Two hours of not picking up the banana, by the way.

The next day, he was having some pasta salad and tossed a carrot (he prefers just the noodles). We repeated the same scenario as the day before. Two hours before he finally picked up the carrot and went on his merry way.

So now two days later, there has been at least one item thrown on the floor at each meal. I simply say, we don’t throw our food on the floor. I pull his tray off the high chair, he slips out and picks it up and hands it to me and then gets back up in his chair. I don’t think him dropping his food the past couple of days has been willful disobedience. He just forgets and does what he has always done. But he knows instantly what he needs to do to make it right.

lesson learned

Be consistent. Don’t back down. I’m the parent; he’s the toddler.

postscript: I just discovered this post I had written a couple months ago and it never got published. Jackson still immediately picks his food up off the floor when asked to, but he rarely purposely throws it down anymore. Just one little parenting victory.


Entry filed under: kids, parenting, toddlers.

the carpet man my child is a right brained, visual spatial learner

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Pam in SE MI (TOG loose threads)  |  June 21, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    You are such a good mom to stick to your guns!

  • 2. Angie  |  June 21, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    Yay! So good to see you blog again =) Missing you!

  • 3. mom  |  June 23, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    My dear daughter
    It is not “just one little parenting victory ”

    This one was huge! and you should see
    evidence of such in many other areas.

    keep on keeping on!

    Love mom

  • 4. Karla  |  June 27, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    Hooray and congratulations!

  • 5. amy  |  June 28, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Way to stick to your guns. “little booger” might just be the perfect description. Aren’t we all sometimes.

  • 6. Sarah Thornton  |  July 18, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Way to go. I’ve been there many, many, many times before, and consistency always pays off in the end. Inconsistancy only makes things way worse. It is not easy though.:-)

    I always love to read your blog, and the comments made about it. It lets me know that I am never alone.

    Take care,


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