Wednesday, April 6, 2011

All that we said was no...

At the beginning, I thought nothing could possibly be harder than taking care of the little, helpless bundle I took home from the hospital.  He couldn't move independently, he needed changing almost hourly, and being the new mother I was, there was no way for me to decode the various ranges of his crying.

Then, that little, helpless bundle became mobile.  And is it EXHAUSTING.
This kid never. stops. moving. 

In a way, his mobility makes me proud - he's kind of ahead of the curve on a lot of those milestones.
But mostly - it makes me terrified.  And exhausted.
Our home, which is not at all baby proof'd, has suddenly become a tunnel of terror as I realize that every object inside of it can and will do bodily harm to my baby.

Also, he does not seem to understand why the cat ball covered in nasty litter is not an appropriate toy.
Or, that attempting to crawl down the basement stairs is not a safe game.
Or, why I'd prefer it if he didn't take a handful of Cat Chow out of the bowl.  (I blame Gerber Puffs.  They are shaped the EXACT same way.)

Who can tell the difference?  The cat food is probably more nutritious anyway.

The worst is electrical cords.  My husband and I both use laptops and it's like the minute we put them on the chargers, his little hawk eyes spot them and he's quickly making a beeline to the outlet.  He loves to yank on them, shake them, put them in his mouth.  It is TERRIFYING.

My husband continually redirected him away from one of the offending cords the other day, until he finally just said, firmly and loudly (but not too loudly), "NO." 
Oh.  My.  Gosh.

You would have thought he hit the baby.  The Incredible Hulk's hulk-like demeanor absolutely crumbled before our eyes and he burst into tears.  I had to scoop him up and rock him and "shhhh" him.

But, I kind of had a mommy "Wise Mind" moment. (Those are few and far me.)  As I rocked him and "shhhh'd," I said "I know you don't like it when mommy and daddy say no, but we do it because we love you and we don't want you to get hurt.  And we do love you, so much." 

Later on, my husband and I kind of "debriefed" the situation, if you will.  He said he didn't want to always be "the mean guy who yells" or for me to be "the nice one who protects you from the mean guy who yells."  I don't want it to be that way either.  And neither of us want to pull that "JUST YOU WAIT UNTIL YOUR [mother/father] GETS HOME."  No one wants to be the monster.

In a perfect world, I'd be able to anticipate every dangerous or disciplinary situation and be able to be smart and pro-active and fix it so out child(ren) could never possibly be hurt.  But, it isn't a perfect world.  And setting them up for thinking "mommy/daddy will fix everything before I have to worry about it" is only going to make them fail later on in life.  Our kids have to have some sort of measuring stick for "right and wrong" and while I'm not always sure I'm the best person for that job - that's pretty much the definition of parenting.

My husband decided that even though we're each going to have to be "the bad guy" multiple times throughout our child(ren)'s life (and sometimes will both have to be "the bad guy" together) that we still want to also be "the nice one who protects" at the same time.  What we discussed was to similarly "scoop our kids up" after a punishment they don't particularly care for, and explain to them that although we're firm in our actions, that we still love them and understand that they may not like our decision/discipline/saying no, etc.

So far, it's been going okay.  Like how TIH now has his first little Incredible Hulk tooth and he has decided to, ahem...try it out...on mommy.  The first time I yelped so loud and said "NO BITING" so of course, his little face crinkled into sobs and I could do nothing but hug him close to me and say "I know I scared you.  I don't want you to bite me and I still love you."  The good news?  He hasn't tried it again.  And that little Incredible Hulk tooth is so flipping cute.

Every once in a while, I catch glimpses of the parents my husband and I are becoming and I am just so proud of us.  We're starting to get it right.

Then we celebrate by watching The Hangover for the 800th time on cable, laugh at the inappropriate parts, chase the baby away from the cat bowl, and allow all parental maturity to fly out the window.


  1. Great post...sounds like you're doing an excellent job with TIH. and just wait, and tantrums get worse when you say no :). But they are kind of cute at the same time.

  2. Thanks lady.
    And yeah, I know it is sick and wrong, but that little crumbly face that he gets when he is told no is SO FREAKING CUTE.

  3. Perfect post because I was just about to title my post "bad mommy/good mommy" when I saw you updated and had to run along over to read! :) I think it's the middle ground that's so hard to find. Seems to be the case with me and the Jellybean these days. Specifically, this week...


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