Saturday, April 15, 2006

Crime and Punishment

I've wondered about how much infants and toddlers can understand about punishment. By now, willful disobedience is possible, but when punished, can a toddler make the connection? We've commited not to using violence to punish, because how can you teach a child not to hit if you hit them to punish them. I was raised in a pro-spanking household and Lori was not, but we both turned out fine. It pains me enough to see Rachel in pain, either from being sick or because she's somehow hurt herself. For me to intentionally inflict pain as an attempt to prove a point? Bloody ridiculous.

I mean to paint my own parents in a bad light, or suggest anything negative. For them, spanking was an acceptable method of punishment. I eventually learned to fear the punishment and choose not to go down a path that would probably lead to it. Of course, guilt was also eventually used as a the weapon of choice. This one, I hated more and in some ways still suffer a little bit from. But we're not here to talk about me.

Rachel has a habit of clearing her tray when she's done eating. And by this I mean she throws things to the floor. Food, bib, sippy cup, plate, fork, spoon, you name it. Frustrates Lori to no end, and sometimes infuriate might be the more appropriate word. Well, tonight I found myself more responsible for Rachel's feeding and clean up. So, in my laziness, I came up with a new idea. Rachel already likes to help and she likes to put things in the trash, and she likes to clean. So tonight she picked up all the food she had thrown on the floor and put it in the trash. Then she picked up her spoon and I lifted her up to the sink to put it in the sink. Lastly, I handed her a wet paper towel and asked her to clean the floor.

Of course, she enjoyed it. And her hands-and-knees cleaning job of the floor was more fun than anything, climbing under the table and whatnot. Certainly won't give Lori a week off from the mopping. But, maybe, just maybe, I'm hoping that night after night as Rachel cleans up the floor and it stops being fun that she'd realize there'd be less to pick up off the floor if she threw less on it.

We shall see.

Other milestones are being hit but I find myself more and more these days thinking about what she will think if she someday finds this. When I started it, it was all about me and what I was experiencing becoming a dad. But now as this little life begins to take on more and more individuality I start to realize that it could affect her as well. So I've been hesitant to write and avoiding discussing some neat things only because I think they could be potentially embarassing. She, of course, will not be able to appreciate this until she has children of her own.

Congrats to D&J on the birth of C and B&K on the birth P. Welcome new little ones!

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