Sometimes around dinner my 21 month old toddler will eat reasonably well, and we don't try to force him to eat if he doesn't want anymore. He loves fruits, grains and meats and seems to tolerate vegetables.
We will let him down from his chair when he starts playing with his food, or throwing it at the dog, that is generally when he is not hungry anymore. We usually keep his plate up on the counter though because he doesn't always eat everything and 10 to 30 minutes later he will often try to reach for it because he would like another bite. When we give the other bite, he will just kind of let it sit in his mouth and he won't swallow it, sometimes for a half hour or more.
We have tried convincing him to swallow, giving him water or juice, bribing with a cookie, convincing to spit it out into our hands, he just doesn't seem to want to. I am not sure if it is a burgeoning rebellion in him but when we ask him to do something like this he gets this devious smile and joyfully tells us "NO".
It is concerning for me and I press it because he plays very rough and I am afraid he will choke on it. Thank god this hasn't happened yet.
I have also tried timeout but when I put him in his timeout chair he breaks down into a complete tantrum with wildly throwing his body back into his chair further increasing the risk he is going to choke. The last time I did this he begrudgingly swallowed but then gagged and threw up everywhere.
Is this behavior normal? Do you have any advice or suggestions to help with this situation? I don't want to not feed my child when they ask me for food.