For the last couple of months Dragon has truly enjoyed pouring his water and milk on the table. It seems like this experiment goes in phases. For us it started with the sippy cup then stopped for awhile and came back with the regular cup. There is something endlessly novel to our child about tipping a cup over, and in the case of the sippy cup, watching the liquid dot or stream out onto the table, or with the regular cup, watching the puddle spread and drip onto the floor. It appears to be an even better experience for him if he gets to finger paint in the liquid or spray it by putting his hands palm down and quickly moving them back and forth through the puddle. Sometimes he will just dump the milk straight on the floor. He doesn’t mind the clean-up. It is always worth it.
We have been thinking for weeks about how to trouble-shoot this problem. We give him very small amounts of liquid; ask him to keep his cup on the table, not pour out his milk etc.; ask him to help with cleanup (in a not-shameful way); get him away from the table as soon as possible when he is finished eating; generally give him a lot of attention when he is eating; and give him water play, pouring, and finger-painting activities when it isn’t meal time. None of this has worked.
There has finally been a small breakthrough. We had two ideas this week. The first one we tried is letting him pour his own water or milk. We are filling a small plastic measuring cup with a little liquid and letting him pour it into his cup. That worked for awhile but it seems the novelty wears off over the mealtime so the pouring gets messier. Tomorrow we will start trying the second idea which is serving his meal on a cookie sheet so if he pours and makes a mess it isn’t so difficult for us to clean up.
I find solace in knowing this little problem won’t last forever. It is also nice for me to think of it in terms of “experimenting” rather than creating a problem, but that doesn’t get rid of the mess all of the same.