New Chapter on Baby Discipline

In Touchpoints, Dr. Brazelton says that when your baby does something, say pulls up on the TV and gets ready to mash the buttons, and then turns around to look at you, that s/he is looking for discipline. “Is this okay, Mommy? Are you going to do anything about it, Mommy?”

I have this plant. It’s a peace lily plant. I don’t love it, because it’s a funeral plant. I got it at my grandma’s funeral, so every time I look at it, I think “dead grandma plant”. But it was sent by 3 of my friends, who did what they thought was appropriate for a funeral, and I know it was done with love, so I keep it. I’ve also watched this plant dry up and almost die, I’ve cut all the leaves off but one, and have watched it grow back into an actual live plant. I’ve moved the damn thing across country and now I’m perversely attached to it just enough that I will throw my baby out the second story window if he tries to destroy it.

We were in the room where the plant lives, I was working on a closet and tossing Alex random things to play with that seemed to be non choking hazards. I look over and he’s crawling towards the plant and is now grabbing a green leaf in his little destructo boy hand.

“Alex, no.” I warn.

He looks at me, continues to grab at leaf, I get off the floor, move him back across the room and give him a sharp, pointy object to play with.

A few minutes later, he’s back at the plant again.

“Alex! NO!” I command him.

He looks at me, continues to grab at leaf, I get off the floor, move him back across the room and give him a pile of broken glass to play with.

A few minutes later, he’s almost back at the plant again.

“Alexander, NO!” I roar out in teacher voice.

He looks at me. He doesn’t leave the plant, but he doesn’t eat the plant. I get off the floor, move him back across the room and give him some arsenic to play with.

A few minutes later, he’s almost back at the plant again.

“ALEXANDER-NO! YOU DO NOT PLAY WITH THE PLANT! NO! NO! NO!”

He looks at me, he looks at the plant. I look in the closet so I can laugh for just a moment at how perplexed he is. I look back at him, I make mean face. I get off the floor, move him back across the room and give him the cat to play with.

A few minutes later, he takes two crawls toward the plant, then looks at me. I look at him, he whimpers and looks at the plant. He takes two crawls toward the plant then looks at me. “Alex. No.” He whimpers again. The looks at the plant, seductively calling his name. “Alex, just this once, here, this touch is free, c’mon …” He looks at me, whimpers some more and falters toward the plant again.

I get up, go to the opposite side of the room and smile and call his name. “Alex, baby, come here, come see Mommy.”

He eases toward the plant, whimpering. He looks at me, waiting for my reaction. “Oh, Mommy, I want to be a good boy, but the plant is so, so, tempting, I’m trying to resist, but the plant smells like boobie milk and cookies and I just, I just, want … Oh Mommy.”

He reaches the plant, I continue to encourage him to come to me. Then suddenly, the plant quits pushing it’s green leafy wares on my gentle boy, he smiles and comes crawling to me. I scoop him up in my arms and tell him how proud I am of him for listening to me, for doing what I asked him to do, even when it was hard. I hug and kiss him and pray for many more teaching opportunities to go as well as this one did.