The girls got this little IKEA table for Christmas, and it's where they eat their meals and snacks (well, most of them). It's painfully cute to watch them scurry over and climb up in their chairs when I say, "want some breakfast?" or their current favorite, "do you want a smoothie?"
They still love to drop stuff off the table, and it's my PET PEEVE. But two things are happening, usually: 1) They love to watch things drop, from anywhere. Science in action! 2) They want to help me "clean up" by literally cleaning everything off of the table to - where else? - the floor. Out of sight, out of mind.
So I just have to put aside my to-do list and sit with them for meals, and when I see that look in their eyes and their hand hesitates with the food over the side of the table, I intervene and have them put it in my hand instead, then I pick up the plates and say, "Looks like you're all done, thank you!"
If they weren't done and cry out for their plates back, I say, "Oh, when you drop your food, it tells me that I need to take your plate away. Please don't drop your food onto the ground. When you're all done, say, 'all done, mama!' (and then I make the all done sign) and I'll take your food away." I give them one more chance, and if they drop it again, plate goes away and we try again later.
If I don't sit with them or if I leave them to their own devices for too long, I can just expect to do a little more clean up, and the blame falls on me. That's been a really hard thing to accept. Why can't they just
Afton: "Mom, get this. If I drop this frozen blueberry off the table, watch it hit the ground! Awesome!"
Ruthie: "I'm trying to help mama clean up! She always tries to get us to clean up, and when I do, then she gets upset. I'm confused."
So I try my best to be consistent with table direction, especially no standing up on the chairs or throwing food, and sitting down to eat, but also lenient in some areas, because they're 19 months old, after all. Although I did look up from something the other day and they had climbed from their chairs up to the table and were standing on top, tummy to tummy. Yikes.
Girls, please stop growing and help me to remember every day that you won't always let me cuddle you, most everything else can wait. I know it in my heart, but it continues to be a hard truth to embrace. And stop dropping your freakin' food. No, really.