Monday, November 5, 2012
It's breakin' my heart, baby!
That's my sweetheart. She is the most precious sweetie in the world. And she would never do anything wrong, right? I.wish.
Alice has developed a new habit: dropping food off her tray. She drops food off her tray with great intention, grabbing a piece of cheese in her fist, stretching out her arm past the little tray, opening that hand, and letting the cheese faaaall to the floor. One piece after the other. We have worked on this food-wasting, disobedient habit, but not much has come of it. I'll sit with her as she stretches out her arm, about to do the dirty deed, and take her wrist, saying "No," then bring her hand back to the tray. There came a day when I could see it in her eyes -- something clicked. I said, "No," and Alice stared at me, then shook her head. "That's right, no-no. Don't drop your food, Alice. Keep it here, on your tray."
Since this recognition of "no," Alice has decided to test the power of this word. Does mom really mean it? She repeats the food-dropping ritual, and I repeat the "no" ritual -- and it has become just that: a ritual! I knew the day would come and I was dreading it... today happened to be the day that "no" was not enough.
Alice had a tray full of sweet potato chunks smothered in coconut oil. After a few bites, she decided that dropping them would be more fun. The ritual ensued and I took her wrist, put it back to the tray, told her no, and offered up the food to her lips. She shook her head. Then she eyed me with those knowing eyes, reached out her arm, I gave a "No, Alice," and just as she opened her hand to let that little potato drop, I hit her hand. It was really more of a firm tap, but it was enough to send the message. She looked confused and brought her hand up and looked at it, then looked at me. She didn't look sad, but her eyes were watery -- she was one confused baby and I was one crushed mommy. Before my heart burst into a million pieces, I brought her face to my lips, kissed her forehead, and said, "I love you." I took another piece of sweet potato and asked if she was all done. Her confusion disappeared and she ate the potato, then signed that she was all done.
It was only a few seconds of a first and most mild discipline, and it took seconds for Alice to move on. She got the picture, didn't drop her food, and was done. But, my goodness, talk about the worst.
I know that enforcing our words and protecting Alice is one of the most profound ways to show Alice we love her, but that doesn't make it any easier. Seeing her obey her parents in the Lord will be the greatest reward.
Love you, babsies! Quit dropping your food, mmkay?