So the baby is one year old and has been properly, officially feted as such. But of course 1 is just a number, and he's still the same, in most meaningful senses, as he was a couple of weeks ago. I feel like I'm changing a bit, though, which may be due to subconscious awareness of this new phase of his life, or may be pure coincidence. Either way, a switch has certainly been thrown in my brain, and I find myself using The Scolding Tone with the baby nowadays, whereas previously I would have considered that a waste of time and energy. Used to be that if he were getting into something he shouldn't I would just wordlessly pick him up and redirect him, like he were some kind of mindless wind-up toy.
But of late I have actually been breaking out the big booming "NO." ... just before going over and picking him up and redirecting him. Still, clearly, in my mind I have determined he is now old enough to at least start laying the ground work of listening to his parents/elders as to what is and is not acceptable behavior. This may also have something to do with the fact that he is getting bigger and stronger every day, and is finding new and interesting ways to give us heart attacks every day, e.g. figuring out how to pop the "baby-proofed" outlet covers right out of the sockets. You had best believe that once he demonstrated that skill, he started hearing "NO." whenever he got within arm's reach of a wall outlet. And to his credit, while I've known many a babe (my older two included, in their day) who burst into uncontrollable sobbing the first time they hear a negatory word, or really anything in a tone of voice other than cooing adoration, our baby does not fall into that category. He is nothing if not mellow, and while saying "NO." does stop him in his tracks, it also prompts him to look at the speaker with a certain relaxed yet expectant attitude, as if to say, "Is there a problem here?" I have not yet fallen into the trap of actually attempting to explain my reasoning to a one year old. But that exasperated day is probably not too far off.
Speaking of exasperation, the other day the little girl took it into her head to destroy a piece of arts-n-crafts that the little guy had painstakingly assembled. This was not an entirely capricious act, I believe there was a retaliatory component at play, but deserved turnabout or not, the little guy was horrified. But what he said to me was, "When is her birthday?" And I told him it was a few weeks away (true) and he nodded sadly and said, "OK. And when she turns three, she'll act better, right?" Which of course broke my heart a little. I have been telling the little guy to go easy on his sister and not expect too much of her, because she's only two. And he's toed that line admirably. But apparently he's also been nursing an expectation that when she turns three a magic switch will be thrown in her head and she'll be much easier to deal with, and it kills me to have to disabuse him of that notion. But we all have to live with each other through all the difficult phases and ages, so we might as well all be on the same page.