July 22, 2010

goody two shoes

For every physical feature that is just like his father, there is a personality trait that is eerily like me.

Case in point: This child is a total rule-follower and does not like to be reprimanded ...

Whenever he hears the word "no," his eyes get big and tear-filled, his bottom lip comes protruding out, and he bashfully retreats from the mean person that uttered the dreaded word. I remember reading in one of my parenting books that children understand "no" by about nine months of age, but whether or not they choose to respond to it is another story. Initially, I thought that that was crazy.

What nine-month-old reacts to being disciplined?

Apparently, mine does.

This morning, while nursing, Malcolm reached up and grabbed at my lip, pinching and pulling it pretty hard with his sharp little finger nails. As more of a reflex than anything, I loudly and sternly said: "Ouch! No, that hurts!"

Immediately, he pulled his hand back, releasing my face from his grip and becoming completely silent. His eyes got bigger than usual and I could see his chest rising and falling at an accelerated pace as he started to work himself up. Finally, a little whimper built up in his throat ...

He looked so sad that I felt really bad for telling him "no" in the first place. Surely he hadn't meant to nearly rip my lip off ... It could have been a lot worse. At least he hasn't taken to biting other sensitive areas! When I noticed the tears surfacing, I picked him up off of the Boppy pillow and enveloped him in a big hug. He just let me cuddle him for a minute, without noise or protest, and I could feel all the signs of sadness slipping away.

When all was well, I apologized for upsetting him during his morning meal and we went back to nursing without incident.

Although he certainly makes me feel guilty about doing it, I think that his aversion to being reprimanded is pretty funny ... Not to mention quite useful. I can only hope that this little character trait continues on through the toddler years and beyond.

Having a little goody two shoes is just fine with me!

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