Saturday, September 10, 2011

Not sure I'm cut out for this...

Ben and I knew this day was coming. Jake's been pushing limits for a couple of weeks now - biting while nursing, standing in the bathtub, hitting mama when he wants to nurse, and grabbing daddy's glasses. Right as things were coming to a head, I read this post about discipline from Science of Mom. Unlike SoM, I don't mind the word discipline. I've babysat and worked in daycares with infants and toddlers since I was a kid myself, so I thought while reading her post, "I've totally got this one."

Uh huh, you guessed it; totally bit myself in the a$$. Evidently discipline SUCKS when it's MY baby, 'cuz MY little Jakey is way cute, even when he's misbehaving. Take today's lunch: Jake's newest thing is to drop stuff. The two of us spent 10 minutes this morning dropping his Little People farm animals. He'd pick up the sheep, drop it, pick it up again, repeat. This game carried through to lunch time, when Jake decided to drop his tortellini on the floor. I asked him if he was done, he picked up another piece of pasta, looked at me, and *DROP*, followed by the cutest evil baby laugh ever. (Yes, Jake has an evil baby laugh; doesn't every baby?)

What a good disciplining mom would have done: say "no" and end lunch time. What I did: tried my best not to spit tomato juice at my son, turned away toward Ben, and shook with silent laughter for the next three minutes. Moment for discipline passed. Fortunately, I'm doing better on other fronts, but it still totally sucks. Why? Because here's what discipline means:

  • When Jake bites during nursing, usually at night, it's time to go to bed. I don't see him very often during the week, and I usually get home right at bed time, so putting him down so quickly after our prayers makes me sad. But I do it anyways.
  • When Jake hits mama's chest as a sign that he wants to nurse, I show him the sign for milk instead of immediately letting him nurse. He hasn't himself used the sign yet, and he gets frustrated waiting. But I teach him anyways. 
  • When Jake stands in the bathtub, it's time to get out. Bath time is by far the best time of the evenings for us, followed by horrid things like putting on diapers and pajamas. *shudder* I hate it when Jake's behavior makes bath time end so quickly. But I end it anyways.
  • When Jake pulls mama's hair or grabs daddy's glasses, it's time to be put down. Even when our cuddle time is already limited. Even when putting him down turns those brilliant laughs into painful (crocodile) tears. But we put him down anyways.

It's been a difficult first week of discipline in the Jakey household, but I think we're gaining some traction. The biting has decreased, he's no longer hitting me when he wants to nurse, and I'm certain bath time will improve any day now. Even when Jake disobeys, he pauses when we say "no," just before deciding to push his boundaries. So maybe there's hope, so long as I can be inoculated against the powers of his laugh - that frickin' precious evil baby laugh.


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