I have an independent one-year-old. She has never really let us feed her (she mastered a fork before she walked), she picks out her own shoes (yes, I know this spells trouble once she can reach her clothing drawers), and her teachers at daycare tell me she grabs her own lunch box from the fridge and takes it to the table to eat. Since I also have a kid that desperately needs to gain weight—I came up with a plan to make a snack drawer where she can grab her snack cup and ask for something when she is hungry, as well as a place where I can corral everything that is specifically for her. So I measured and organized and made it really pretty (that’s how I do), and it looked something like this:
Two days in, she figured out how to open the drawer herself. This was good because it was part of the plan. Another few days and she was bringing me whatever box she wanted, or just her cup if she wanted something from the fridge. This was also part of the plan (this is where I was patting myself on the back).
But then we got into all the reasons a toddler should not have their own snack drawer. Let’s begin, shall we?
- She quickly figured out how to open the boxes herself. Instead of asking, she was just trying to sneak her own snack (very quietly, as if that’s not suspicious).
- So I put rubber bands on all the boxes. NOPE. She figured out that too.
- So I pre-portioned snacks into cups that twisted shut. NOPE. Apparently she figures out anything food related within a day or two.
After all that work, I was forced to put the snacks in one of the higher cabinets, and turn it into a drawer for all her cups, plates, and accessories. She still knows to grab a cup and bring it over when she wants to eat, but at least she can’t sneak them. But don’t worry, the chaos didn’t end there. Now that she knows it’s HER drawer, she sort of took over the organization and there are new rules:
- The straws MUST NOT be in their proper dispenser, they must be emptied out everywhere and used to poke mom and dad in the leg while they are cooking (side note: we no longer use these straws for their actual use).
- Plates and bowls should not be put away in order of size, but instead be thrown about until it looks just right.
- There must always be an old container of dry beans available for music-making (mom tried the activity once, and now it’s not allowed to go away).
- Mom and dad must rinse everything in this drawer before using it, because there is no telling where anything has been.
And now it looks something like this:
So it went horribly wrong. My kid outsmarted me, and this drawer will never be pretty or used to its full potential. Readers, maybe a toddler shouldn’t have their own snack drawer. Maybe.