For the most part, I can tell when kids get into the food. They leave a trail of wrappers, crumbs, and debris after them. I recently discovered that Peter was smarter than I thought though. He had figured out how to get snacks on his own.
Ellie Belly is also learning to love cookies. She gets her own teething biscuits (homemade biscotti) and leaves her own mess.
At just a few days older than two, he has learned to step on his tip toes to reach the pantry handle to open the door. He reaches inside and pulls out the large container of animal crackers, one of his favorites. He then unscrews the top, reaches inside and grabs a few cookies. He stuffs them in his mouth and then carefully puts the lid back on the container and scoots it back to its place in the pantry. He closes the pantry door and walks away.
Can't you just see the mischief in his smile?
One evening I saw him doing this after not eating any of his healthy dinner and called dh to take a look. He watched in disbelief as he put away the container and shut the door. Then in true dh fashion he snuck up on him, gave him a stern "NO!" and made little Peter spit out his mouthful of cookies into the trashcan. Poor Peter stuck out his bottom lip for a few moments then spit them out and began crying. Everyone else felt sorry for a boy who really showed some initiative, but dh was right it couldn't become a habit.
For a few days I didn't notice anymore cookie raids, but then yesterday I glanced up from the computer to see him shoveling a handful of cookies in his mouth. As soon as he heard my best imitation of dh's "No," he looked up in horror. He took one look at my face, I was trying hard not to laugh, and promptly spit out every bit of cookie-- right back into the open (and almost full) container of cookies. He screwed on the lid as fast as he could, and went running out of the kitchen.