The D-word

10 10 2006

couch.jpgI have not blogged in FOREVER. That’s because I’ve been really busy parenting. Seriously, this job is not cushy. Back when Ethan was an infant, people would give me really pitying looks and tilt their heads to the side whenever they’d inquire how I was doing, sleep-deprived as I was. And I’d be all, Ohmygoodness, it’s so hard, I never get any rest, yes, feel sorry for me more, please. But honestly, it wasn’t that bad. Aside from the very early beginning (the first 4 months or so), when I was chained to the couch every hour and half in front of Dr. Phil (or My Super Sweet 16, depending on my mood) so the babe could breastfeed, and thus suck me dry of any energy I might have had, he was an absolute angel.*

Nevertheless, I let people believe that it was really hard work. In actuality, it wasn’t. Maybe it just seemed that way, given how nervous we were on a daily basis, being faced with things like diaper rash and belly button stumps and what to do for a baby’s dry skin? We feared one wrong decision would have lifelong negative effects on the baby, and agonizing over every single little thing, day in, day out, can really wear a person down.

Or, maybe it was just the fact that I had no idea how hard it could (and inevitably would) get. A few posts ago I went off about how my little baby is now a little boy, and where did that tiny little infant go, and blah blah blah. It’s true, I miss having that little baby, but boy, did I need to get over myself. I’m focusing instead on how incredibly lucky I am to have such an awesome little kid. He is quickly growing into a little person that needs more than just love and nourishment. Mainly, discipline.

One time when Ethan was about 7 months old, I put him in a time-out. Yeah. I know a 7 month old has no concept of time, yeah yeah yeah. And I honestly don’t even remember what he’d done. But whatever it was, it frustrated me, and I picked him up and placed him in the corner, while Jeff sat there and stared at me, appalled on several different levels.

Ethan sat there, for maybe 0.7 of a second, and in that 0.7 of a second, before his thoughts had quickly moved on to the poop he was working on in his pants, and ooh, juice, he needed juice, RIGHT NOW, and hm, can I fit this whole sock in my mouth?, I’m sure he gave whatever it was he’d done a lot of thought, and decided that time-outs are no fun and he’d better behave in the future.

If only it were that easy. In fact, it’s not, and now that Ethan’s at a more time-out-appropriate age, that, along with our Stern Voices, is all we’ve got going for us. My Stern Voice, however, does nothing but cause Ethan to giggle furiously, only to recover and go straight back to whatever it was he was doing that made me use the Voice in the first place. So things don’t look very promising in that area.

However, when he’s not hitting me in the face or slamming things onto the glass coffee table or trying one of my infinite VERY LAST NERVES, he is being AWESOME, and like I said, I’m just thankful that I get to be around and have a part in his life. He walks like Frankentstein, he practices his engine noises a lot (which I never taught him how to do, I guess boys just inherit that ability naturally), he understands pretty much everything we say, he babbles patch.jpga lot (I actually caught up with Ethan recently as he was leaving a club and asked him what his thoughts were on capital punishment, and if you’re interested, here’s some of what he had to say), he uses his signs, he laughs and smiles (when he’s certain there aren’t cameras or other people around), he loves to dance to the Sesame Street song, AND we get to do cool things like trekking out to the pumpkin patch at Halloween time with him.

Mustardy baby poop sucked, but anyone can survive that. It’s this disciplining thing that’s hard. I’m hoping we catch on sometime soon. However, I wouldn’t change a thing. Except maybe I would make my Stern Voice more Stern and less Comedic.

*I’m aware of how unflattering a picture that is to the right. I couldn’t not use it, though, since it so very accurately captures the mood back then, not only because Ethan and I are in our designated spot on the couch, but specifically, that look on my face. Can you see it in my eyes? That drugged out, I’m-never-going-to-sleep-again, hide-all-the-Desitin-cause-I’m-about-to-LOSE-IT, delirium? Haunting, isn’t it?



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