Monday, May 18, 2009


Lemmie start off by saying. Elijah is a good kid. He says “Please” and “Thank you” and he hugs his grandparents and strangers and his fit throwing is down to a manageable level.

But he’s smart. Some would say too smart. Some being me. He’s very good at pushing boundaries to see how far he can go before he gets a “Time out.” It’s totally normal and good for his development.

The thing is, we don’t know where the boundaries are. Or where they should be. Or what they look like. Or what they’re made of. Barbed wire?

Some boundaries are easy. No violence. We are a hitting free house. You are not allowed to take a swing at your father unless you are both characters in the book “The Great Santini.” Even then you have to wait until you beat your father in basketball for the first time.

Also, no trying to maim yourself. Standing on bookshelves, banging on second floor screen windows and pulling a pin on a grenade are all grounds for Time Outs.

But then there is a huge grey area that I like to call “Weirdness.” Diana and I like to encourage weirdness. You want to spin around until you fall down? Go nuts. Rubbing pasta sauce in your hair? Okay. But its hard to tell when weirdness crosses over to naughtiness.

Take yesterday. We visited Diana’s folks so they could get some baby time and because I wanted to collect my birthday present from them. Diana attempted to pass off some store bought cupcakes as her own. They were gross, so they sat on the deck furniture, uneaten.

Along comes Eli. He toddled up to the cupcakes and then systematically licked each and every one and carefully replaced it. I would technically call that wasting food, which is a subset of the “Mess Making” discipline category. Which, incidentally Diana and I have differing views on.

But we ended up letting him demolish the cakes without getting into trouble. It was too nice a day to yell at him.

Later that night we busted him climbing on our clothes hamper in an attempt to hang from the fancy birdcage we have attached to our ceiling.

Time out.

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