Friday, September 17, 2010

WORDS: now organic!

If motherhood has taught me anything, it is to eat my words.  It's amazing what you think you know before you have kids.  You look at the unruly children in Target and think, "Why doesn't that mom just march them right out of there?"  It never occurs to you that maybe this is the only window in that mother's day when she's not changing diapers, folding laundry, chasing little urchins, cleaning up a food fight, or strategizing her plan of attack on the disaster box that is her house during that precious 60 minutes of nap time.  Let me tell ya, when you have a window, you use it.  Screaming children or no screaming children.

So here's my latest linguistic lunch.  When I was pregnant, I heard about a form of parenting in which parents do not baby-proof because doing so avoids the opportunity to teach and discipline their child.  Baby-proofing simply keeps things off limits and unattainable so that Baby doesn't hurt herself (you know, by eating ant traps or licking electrical outlets - more on that later) or destroy precious things (like computers that make a really fun noise when pulled to the ground).  Instead, this particular parenting strategy advises not to baby-proof, but to train your child to know what she should and shouldn't play with.  Brilliant! I thought.  I'll save so much money by not buying the gear, plus I won't have those hideous bulky things on the toilets and doors, etc.  Ahh, the ignorance of the childless.

The strategy worked for a couple months.  You know, the months when Baby Girl was a mere (cute) blob on the living room rug.  Once that blob sprouted arms and legs in place of her floppy appendages, it was a whole new ball game.
blobs can't do this
By the way, have you ever tried to discipline a 9-month-old?  Let me tell you a few things.

First of all, she's much faster than you think.  No sooner do I walk to the washing machine to start a load of diapers, do I hear her banging on the trash can in the bathroom - despite the fact that I left her playing safely in her room.  And by "playing," I mean re-organizing her bookshelf.  And by "re-organizing," I mean throwing all the books in a heap on the floor.
good thing her mommy likes to re-organize
Secondly, she seems to have selective memory.  The little tricks that she so excellently demonstrates in private seem to slip her mind when I ask her to perform in public.  (Do you have any idea how idiotic I feel saying, "How big is Lila?" 20 times to a child who just stares at me blankly?)  But she has no problem recalling where the computer is or which kitchen cabinet contains all the poisons.  Awesome.

see? PROOF that shes' soooo big!

Third of all, she seems to have an unnatural curiosity toward things that might fry her brains.  Like when I turned my back for oh, 6 seconds, only to swing around again when I heard the sound, "Ah-ah-ah."  Hmmm, what's that sound?  Oh, nothing.  Just my child LICKING THE ELECTRICAL OUTLET.  Seriously.  Hands on either side of the outlet, tongue out.  Question: What's more dangerous than sticking a body part in an electrical outlet?  Answer: Sticking a WET body part in an electrical outlet.  Good thing I had my box of baby-proofing safety gear sitting helpfully unopened on the table.  Right.

I tried distraction.  No good.  She would much rather play with the empty grocery bag with all of its choking, strangling and suffocating potential than the nice, safe sock monkey.
I tried scolding.  Too bad she thinks, "No, Lila!" is our new fun game.
I tried re-directing.  Also a fun game.  I can see the ticker-tape across her little brain, "When I crawl over here, Mama chases me and picks me up. FUN!"  Now she even stops halfway to her destination to turn around and grin at me.
I tried physical force (as in holding her down on the changing table when she tries to wiggle her little body into a dare-devilish dive onto the floor).  Turns out she's pretty strong.

Yeah, disciplining can come later.  I'm opting for keeping my child alive.  Next time you're over, check out our new "decorations."  Anyone have any ideas for making child-proof stuff look less blah?
Put those thinking caps on while I salt and pepper my latest meal: Humility a-la Baby Girl.


Sarah said...

So I haven't left you a comment in a while, but I feel compelled to share with you how much joy your blog brings to my otherwise boring law-school-filled life! I can't believe she is already 9 months old already! It's like she's turning into a real person!! Hope I get to see the Kautzi clan again soon. Lots of love!

michelle said...

love the photos...and comming from someone who has managed to have a kiddo fall OFF the changing a certain point changing on the floor can be a lot safer for all involved! :)

Katy said...

I love your blog, its makes me laugh and love the pictures. Licking an electric outlet,hmmm, I don't think I have ever heard of a child doing that. Have fun and Lots of luck! Katy

Mira's mom said...

Kelsey I don't know if you remember me, but I used to be a Michaelson. Anyway....I totally relate to this post. Thanks for the laugh.

Mr. Colorful said...

Its extremely hard to stick a tongue in an electrical outlet. I know, I've tried! I suppose her tongue could be smaller than mine though which would make it easier for her.