It’s right around one year of age.

No kidding.  If someone would have asked me that very question a couple of weeks ago, I would have guessed that kids don’t get it until sometime after high school graduation.  I vaguely remember our pediatrician mentioning to us at her 12-month appointment that we could start showing Smushie some boundaries.  (Of course, I nodded my head in agreement.  Sort of.  I was really nodding as an answer to my own thought, “Should I make a ham and cheese panini for lunch today?”)

There was no way in hell that a baby who’s self-feeding procedure of:

  1. Grab applesauce off plate
  2. Place applesauce gently on forehead
  3. Tilt head back slightly
  4. Catch food in mouth
  5. Clap hands
  6. Repeat

would understand that certain things were “off-limits” let alone the concept that her nose was more than a food slide.

Yes, I’m talking about the same Smush that tries to chew through power cords, lick the dog bowls,  dive off the changing table, and shoves everything into her mouth, edible or not.  Daily.  None of my parenting techniques on “house rules” seemed to matter until the other day.

It was a lovely morning, with the sunlight beginning to wash over the window sills as it burned off the dewy moisture from the glass.  I saw the Meatball in front of our TV entertainment center.  Again.  For the 50th time, she was pushing the on/off button on the A/V receiver.  (Why do manufacturers put lights on the damned things!  I don’t need it.  I’ll know if it’s on if I can HEAR and SEE the TV!  Or at least they could offer a childproof option that disables buttons on the front panel when little hands are dangling nearby.)

Before she could blow out the expensive piece of equipment, I walked over with my estoque and capote de brega to lead Smush away from her “toy”.  As I advanced nearer, she looked up at me wide-eyed and mouth agape.  Then, she dropped down on her butt, kicked her legs furiously and hauled herself away from me at full speed.

Now, there’s no disputing what occurred.  We both knew what we was going on.  Since I’m part neanderthal (given the slope of my forehead), I use more physical action than verbal expression when parenting.  But even my actions have meaning.  No actual words filled the air, but this was the conversation my little girl and I had, each in our own communication style.

Noise: *click* *clock* *click* *clock*…ad nauseum.

Me:  *stomp* *stomp* *stomp* “Meatball?  What are you doing?  This is not a toy for you!”

Smush:  “Red light!  No red light!  Red light!  No red light!  Wow, this is the most amazing toy EVER!”

Me:  “Alright, let’s move you to a safer part of the house.  How about I strap you into your restraints high chair?”

Smush:  (Looking up with surprise.)  “AH!  I know this looks bad, but this time it’s not what you think it is.  Besides, how could you sneak up on me like a Ninja!  I gotta split!  You can’t catch me with an empty diap….ohhhh nooo!” *pffft*

Me:  (Scooping her up with extremely well-muscled outstretched arms.) “Gotcha!  Hey, what’s that smell?”

And so a lesson had been learned.  If anyone needs to have boundaries, it’s the Smushter.  She’s just that type of baby.  Hence the baby gate, the wall outlet covers, the padded helmet, the muzzle, the straightjacket, etc…

I can’t think of anything more fun and joyous than disciplining a baby.  Maybe I’ll look into a citrus spray shock collar.

Smush, Everything You Say Will Be Held Against You in The Court of Honeydaddy...

Smush, Everything You Say Will Be Held Against You in The Court of Honeydaddy…