Celia is now at the stage where she tests my limits, then cries when she doesn’t get it. From a psychological development point of view it’s quite interesting actually. I appreciate watching her slowly develop into a more mature human being, and I constantly think back to that child development course I took back in college.
Here we are in the vacation house on the lake, with all its splendor, and Celia had to explore every nook and cranny. Thankfully, it’s a mostly baby-proofed house, so every corner she found brought smiles from us, but of course there’s going to be at least one place that will end up being off limits. For me, it was the basin that holds the logs for the fireplace. At first I didn’t mind that she was playing with them, but then she started putting little bits of wood and dirt in her mouth.
“Tay-Tay!” I said, “Don’t eat that, Celia.” I wiped her hand clean and turned her away from the basin. She instantly turned around and climbed up it again.
“Tay-Tay! Not for baby.” I pulled her down again and put her in front of some toys.
She looked at me, then turned forward, closed her eyes, and started to wail. And we’re not talking a little cry, we’re talking a resurrection of the old “Squealia,” whom I hadn’t heard for months and months. “Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” she cried, then “Aaaaaaaaah!” she shrieked as she turned bright red, then purple, and tears began to pour down her face.
I just shook my head and marveled. It’s not like her crying was going to make me give her what she wanted. This is a very important border-discovery time. She’s figuring out just how far she can push the boundaries I set up, and I want to make sure she knows that not only can she not get past them, but she will receive no consolation when she cries because of it.
“Celia, look at all these toys you can play with!” I said to her. She kept wailing. I was about to plug my ears when she suddenly snapped out of it and went back to normal again. Smiling. Playing. Crawling. It was as if nothing had happened. But we both know it did, and the boundary is set.
Not only is the boundary set, but future boundaries. I have a feeling that these next weeks of setting boundaries will be critical for all the future ones as well. I hope to get to a time where all I have to do is say the word, and she instantly (and happily) removes herself from the situation.
Perhaps I’m being ridiculous, overly optimistic and ambitious. Who knows? But at the very least I know it’s a critical time to do it right. The groundwork we’re laying now will have a tremendous impact on all of our futures. And now, I will remove myself from this laptop and get back to the great outdoors on the lake.