On to other things … yesterday I picked up my baby boy from daycare and had another parental first, unfortunately this time not a very positive one. I was informed by one of the baby room attendants that my son spent a good part of the afternoon poking other, smaller babies in the eye, and could not be deterred until he was placed in his crib to scream and rage his way through a timeout.
I’ve been dreading this day as somewhat inevitable. My wife and I both believe that roughhousing is a normal and appropriate playstyle for little tots. (Our dog disagrees, and hates it when we toss the child around, said hate expressed primarily via whining and running in nervous circles at our feet – but the dog does not get a vote in child-rearing matters. Or any matters.) And we’ve tried to draw some lines for little Maximus (aka The Gladiator) to differentiate between the fun and appropriate and the painful and inappropriate, but come on – the distance between slapping both sides of my head repeatedly while I laugh and poking a daycare-mate’s eyeball is pretty short. I don’t worry that we’re raising a little sociopath, and I don’t think Maximus has a single malicious bone in his body. He’s not even one year old yet. (Sometimes I don’t believe he has a single bone in his body, period – just some rubbery placeholders.) But apparently we are reaching the turning point somewhere between “Do whatever you want! Express yourself! Be wild!” where the worst wildness he could get up to was pulling all the Kleenex out of a box, and the arduous realm of discipline.
All of which is fine, really. I want to give Maximus boundaries, and I think he (read: ALL children) needs them. It’s just more work, and I’m steeling myself for it. Not complaining, not wishing it away, just steeling myself.