Friday, June 13, 2003

Discipline

Or lack thereof. Yes, we're starting to arrive at the point where "no" must be enforced occasionally. Case in point. Ever since he's been crawling, he's shown a disturbing proclivity for making a beeline to our big TV, where he then stands up and tries to bang his hand on the screen. Initially, we humored him (it was good to see him crawl and pull up), but we always tried to discourage him from smacking the tube - usually by distraction.

Last night, though, we started taking it to the next step - actually not letting him at the TV set. I was the villain here - and I did it by blocking his path there and when he did get to it I'd immediately move him away with a "no".

From the tantrum he held, you'd swear I was horse-whipping the poor little bugger if you could have heard him. Unfortunately, once I finally got him to pay attention to something else (a copy of Yankee magazine on the coffee table), he soon toppled over sideways and banged his head on the floor. That, combined with the frustration he was still seething with from earlier put him into a new height of inconsolable screaming that brought Jane downstairs to whisk him away.

Usually, when they fall over you can just ignore them for a few seconds and they quickly distract themselves away from being upset (once they realize there's no audience attention). This time that effort was doomed. Once she got him upstairs he calmed down and happily burbled and scooted until bedtime a short while later.

Boy, did I ever feel like a heel.

Anyhow, this is an interesting developmental phase. He's trying to assert ever-greater amounts of independence, but not quite up to many of the tasks he wants to do. The end result is a frustrated toddler who has plenty of rough spots despite being mainly pleasant most of the time. Diaper changes are a test of patience for all involved, because it means trying to keep him still on his back for the two minutes it takes. Putting an outfit on is rarely done in less than about ten minutes, going out for food is a race against the clock with his attention span, and feedings are a perpetual struggle.

Fortunately, this is a phase. He'll gradually shift over to self-feeding, and that takes a load off of us. Once he's used to his mobility, that'll help us keep him still on occasion, and he's probably just a couple of months (and a few more teeth) more away from eating kids' meals when we go out, which will keep him occupied better.

All in all, it's a fascinating phase to watch. Our helpless, dependent little baby is rapidly becoming a toddler, and is real close to walking (with all the new challenges _that_ brings!). He loves to play with objects, use tools, and we've removed virtually all his baby toys from the house that he started with and have moved on to toddler toys. He actually acknowledges and plays with other kids of comparable ages now - I mentioned his efforts at picking up the little 16-month old at Flynnie's last week, and I think I mentioned in an earlier posting that he had a great time the night before his birthday party chasing my friend Flip's daughter Lindsay around the floor at their hotel. He actually plays with Gracie (the cat) now - he pats her gently when he catches up to her and loves cuddling with her as often as he can. They chase each other around the house for fun.

Basically, our little baby is a person now - and we're just seeing some growing pains that go along with that. It's still a blast, though.

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