12 January 2010

He's a Rebel

Yes, that's a reference to '60s girl group, the Crystals. Even if you don't know what I'm talking about. I am nothing if not a pop culture sponge, regardless of genre, era, etc. From before my lifetime and beyond.

It is truly a very sad way to live.

Anyhow, what compels me to invoke this nostalgic, bubble-gum view of a '50s greaser-type is the fact that I would like to address the subject of defiance, and to wonder why this behavioral trait seems to be one of the very first things a kid learns. I'm sure there are copious amounts of legitimate scientific research into this phenomenon, if I could just be bothered to go to the local library. Or more simply, conduct a Google search. But really, who has the time for all that, what with all the demands of being a parent? (Not to mention, who has the energy?)

When it comes to discipline, teaching, etc., we've read that you're not supposed to overuse the word "No." I'm not sure how you do that exactly. Nothing else seems quite as effective or rolls off the tongue so easily. "Please don't!" "Would you mind?" "Clarence!" (My son's name is not Clarence, this just seems like something that might be fun to exclaim. You could always pretend you were Bruce Springsteen cueing the Big Man to commence on a sax solo.)

Anyway, our son has now learned the word "No" and it seems its effect has already been somewhat diluted from repeated use. From the stove, to the electric sockets, the giant bookcase, the garbage bin, coffee mugs, the stereo, the TV receiver. Our son is compelled to get into everything, to touch everything. And when we say, "No," he's taken to pointing at the forbidden object himself and repeating, "No." Like he gets it, right? Then he just goes ahead and touches said object once again. We repeat, "No." And then he looks at us (this part kills me) and holds our eyes while repeating, "No, no." As if he actually understands what we're getting at--then he just does it all over again.

Once started, this vicious cycle is often quite difficult to end.

The other thing that happens is he'll undo what he's done, he'll return objects to the location he's removed them from when he's told, "No." He'll put them back in their original, rightful locations. For a moment. Only to move them again.

Again, this can go on for quite some time. Bizarre the things that can hold the kid's interest sometimes.

You simply cannot reason with him. How long can this possibly go on? It's absurd. And the look. The look. It's hard to describe exactly. Whatever comes right before diabolical. Somewhere between innocent, yet knowing, all at once. This twinkle in the eyes. Hard to believe it's being generated by a creature that is only 17 months old.

We are in for some serious trouble.

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