June 05, 2007

Another Developmental Quandry

So, when can you start disciplining an infant? I mean: not disciplining exactly. Not punishing. More just...managing. Like classroom management, but at home, with your infant.

Here's the deal: Elliot is now pretty mobile, and there are various things that he likes to do that he should not do. Like pull himself up onto the TV, or crawl under the coffee table where he can too easily whap his head.

My general thought on this is that, first, you should remove all the things you can that might be tantalizing to das infant, if you do not want das infant to have them. But after that...how does this go? I know that Elliot is not willfully doing things that he knows he shouldn't do. So it's not like he's breaking rules, exactly. But how, and when, is it useful to start teaching him that there are rules? If he gets too close to the TV, should I just pick him up and put him down somewhere else? Or do I need to say "uhuh!" first, so he learns that?

I have done a lot of teaching of older childers, so I have some fairly well thought through ideas on what's fair and effective in terms of dealing with kids. But I realize that I really haven't thought at all about discipline and the pre-verbal set. It strikes me that sleep training is a form of management...but that's about getting your children to do something, right? This is getting Elliot not to do something, without the ability to specify for him what that is. Interesting pedagogical challenge, I'd say.

Some ps's

PS1: So, like, can we not restart the cold war right now, Mr. President? I know Putin sucks, but I have enough to think about without worrying that my child too is going to grow up with the looming threat of nuclear war. I thought we were over this.

PP2: Elliot seems to have no interest in actual crawling. But he's getting much speedier in his crabwalking, as is evidenced below.

PP3: just as a heads up: i think we might have a few more videos than normal, the next little while. I don't mean to bore the onlookers, but we really want to document the whole "moving" thing for Elliot's grandfolk, none of whom live close enough to watch in person.


katiphillips said...

Maybe this is why the word "no" is among the first children learn.

A sampling of my first words: Mama. Dada. No! Boom. Fries!

Alesia said...

My advice (for what it's worth) is remove as many temptations as you can, say "no, thank you, Elliot" and remove him for the others, and distract, distract, distract. Goodluck!

Misty said...

When I do the "uhuh" to Ian, he just looks at me like I am nuts. I guess I make so many odd noises at him, this is just one in my repertoire.

And that child's crab walking is so freaking cute! His ingenuity really made my day.

w said...

Hey Sarah-

We know more than a few kiddos who crabwalked for ages, one to the point of developing a blister on the big toe he used for stability. He's ingenious for inventing his own stride.

And I have nothing for you about the discipline stuff- you know, we don't buy the sleep training thing either, so we're not the mamas to ask.

Alesia said...

I was thinking that the grandfolk need to have their own websites that Elliot can watch. "See, Elliot, this is how grandma walks!"

Sheree said...

Keep posting any management ideas for the youngsta's. The only thing I've seen is a tip to smother the baby while breastfeeding if he bites. That seems a bit harsh to me. (However, if Jackson still bites when the teeth come in, I'll try it.) I think you're on the right track with the cheerios. They say that dogs peak at about a 2 year old's IQ, so perhaps the babies can be trained the same way dogs can. See if Elliot will roll over on demand or shake.
The crab walk is freakin' adorable! Post away. I haven't looked for the studies personally, but my teacher mother says that they've shown that crawling is wonderful for cognitive development. The babes that skip it and go straight to walking are more likely to have difficulty reading. Your creative crawler is right on track to follow in your literary footsteps.
Also, I say Big Cahoneys to you for all the naked time Elliot gets around the house. I assume you must have some kind of pact with him so you don't have to follow behind with a towel.