I had a dream last night. Eli had done something — I don’t know what, but it was wrong, and I had told him so, and he’d nodded and not really paid attention in the way he does. I was filled with rage, at his ignoring me, at him not understanding his wrongness. I wanted to take him and shake him, limbs flying, until he got it. Then I woke up.

We’re in a strange and frightening transition. Eli is moving from being a lump of baby to a creature who can comprehend and reason. I’m caught in the middle, not sure how much discipline to administer, frustrated that he ignores what I say or tests me. I wonder how we will cope with him.

Then I come home from work. “Daddy home!” he cries and rushes headlong, throwing his little body into me, all bird bones and high-pitched voice.



  1. anonymous
    on January 11, 2006 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Pick your battles. Not all misbehavior merits the same degree of discipline. He is easily led and basically wants to obey. He just needs to be shown how. You are looking at yourself at this age. We did fine and you will too.
    Mom/Eli’s May

  2. on January 11, 2006 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I don’t know how helpful I can be, given that Dante is a year and a half behind Eli. However:

    One of the parenting mantras that has really helped me is: It’s Not Personal. Ignoring/testing is a dynamic that happens between every parent and child. It’s just part of the system, part of the deal. I find it easy to fall into the trap of feeling personally affronted by my kid’s behavior — I don’t have any other relationships where the other person is so irrational or has such poor communication skills, and I try to avoid such relationships. So nobody else in my life gets to treat me the way that Dante does, and sometimes it’s hard to remember that I’m supposed to be his mentor rather than just his friend. However, his behavior (or misbehavior, in Eli’s case) isn’t about me. It’s about him learning the boundaries of his world, and I’m there to show him what they are. Without anger, ideally. (An ideal I do fall short of sometimes.)

  3. anonymous
    on January 12, 2006 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Try not to worry about it too much. You and Misty have been great parents and I know that you will continue along that path. I know that you will find your way and everything will work out just fine. Of course, this is easy for me to say, being childless and all. Just remember that positive enforcement will go a long way. And if you find you just can’t take it anymore, it’s Nanny to the rescue! A little time away might just be what you need.

    Good luck.