This week, the Bug has been his usual complex, young self with all of the ups and downs that naturally accompany being a self in this world. Included in that complex, young self is a budding yet keen desire to test limits. And lately, the moment before he tests those limits, he looks at me, smiles a sneaky smile, and his eyes actually sparkle a little -- all as if to say:"Momma, I am going to do this thing. You are going to say no, but I am going to keep doing it. Maybe I can wear you down. Maybe this time I can exhaust you to the point that you will not say no ever again, and I will be the greatest toddler ever to toddle the Earth!"
When I have the energy, my responses tend to fall somewhere on the Great Patience Spectrum between
- Understanding Early Childhood Development While Gently (And Successfully!) Redirecting Attention
- Hiding Frustration While Easily (And Successfully!) Providing Strong Guidance.
When I am tired, a more common state lately, I am less awesome.
Yesterday morning, for example, the Bug decided that his default mode was to test limits.
He asked (in his own way), "what if I put my hand very close to the fan while it is on?" Not long thereafter he asked, "what if I pushed my rocking chair over and then pulled it back up a little too fast so that it bumped my nose?" He repeated, "seriously, what if I kept pushing this rocking chair over and pulling it back up so that it kept bumping me in the face?"
My default mode was lying on the floor of his room, hoping that I could convince him with long, drawn out verbal explanations that he should behave differently. That went well.
And so, here we go. The Bug undoubtedly will continue to ask (in one way or another) what would happen if he were to . . . push his feet against the dinner table in order to tip his chair way, way back / put his finger in the fan / climb on the coffee table / pull the electric plug of the baby monitor out of the wall socket / turn the air conditioner on and off again three hundred times / turn the floor lamp in his room on and off again three thousand times . . . and I undoubtedly will continue to translate the world for him. Wish us luck.