Saturday, July 21, 2012

Making People

A very sweet young man who has never been around children (and has been over-exposed to mine since our arrival in the country) has seemed disturbed and confused by the fact that Thing 1 continues to do bad things even after I have told her not to.  
For example, Old Kitty is sadly now Very-Frail-Not-Long-for-This-World-Please-Don't-Touch-Him-Or-Else-He-Might-Break Kitty. Which means that her favorite kitty is suddenly off limits and not to be bothered. Or hugged. Or picked up. Or pushed. Or scared. Or spoken loudly around. This is hard for a small Tyrant to understand, and as a result she hears, 
"Be gentle to kitty! Gentle! Leave him alone! Don't touch the kitty!" around a million times a day. 
After the ten thousandth time, this young man just shook his head and looked at me, 
"Why does she do that? I mean, what's the point? You've told her not to. She knows she'll get in trouble. WHY does she keep doing it?"
This got me thinking about the intensive training it takes to make babies into fully functioning human beings.  I have come to the conclusion that repetition is the main tool. 
For example, when  my toddler sweetly states, "Thank YOU!" when you hand her her juice, that is the result of being prompted a hundred times a day for several years before her first voluntary response. 
Do you see how she is resisting pulling everything off of all the shelves in her reach? We worked on that for probably a year straight, starting when she first became mobile. Every day all the DVD's and books were on the floor dozens of times. Then we would pick them up. And I would say, "Don't pull the DVD's down. NO." She would nod solemnly - and then do it again a half an hour later just incase maybe the rules had changes.
Not all children are quite as stubborn as mine. Some babies hear, "NO!" and their world ends and they never EVER want to hear it again so they behave like little angels.
( I have only heard rumors of these children, please, if you see one, send me a pictures so I know they are real.)
Children like mine push boundaries constantly because they want to do and know and experience EVERYTHING. RIGHT NOW. Which is wonderful and exhausting and challenging and means that I will be telling her the same things OVER and OVER and OVER again for many years.
I guess as a mommy I have to look at the long term results of this training, and not focus on the short term repeated offenses.    

As to why does she do the bad things she does? Best I can guess it's because becoming a person is fucking hard work. Similar to the time commitment needed to learn a foreign language while training for the olympics and preparing for life on a space station. 
It is good to remember how hard it all is when a little person is behaving badly.  
It's probably not just because they are evil little minions.  

1 comment:

Angela Larson said...

Your attitude is right where it needs to be. Way to go! It's hard after saying something the millionth time to recall the things our kids used to struggle with and no longer do. I'd wager this young man will have quite a wake up call someday when he has his own kids. In the mean time Katie, keep doin what you're doin. Cause you're doin great!