I was reading in What to Expect the 1st Year (even though my doctor told me to not read this anymore, it will just make me paranoid) that by the age of 10 months, babies know what "NO" means. They will start to test your limits and see how far they can push the boundaries.
I thought this was hogwash until I noticed that my precious little baby girl is already purposely defying and manipulating me! For example, if I say "No" sternly and move her away from a dangerous object (that she was trying to eat), she crawls right back to it, turns her head to look at me, and then gets a devilish little grin. She stares at me and waits to see what I'm going to do. She then grabs the object again. This cycle repeats over and over. It also happened today when she bit me! I screamed when she bit my arm and I guess she loved the reaction, because she did it again and started cracking up laughing. Oh boy.
All of these little instances got me thinking about discipline and how important setting boundaries and being consistent are when raising a child. I learned that lesson very early on as a teacher, and I certainly plan on using the same philosophy in my parenting.
I came across this poem online about "Mean Moms", and it really hits the nail on the head when it comes to "tough love". This poem reminded me a lot about how my parents raised us, and I am thankful for it now.
To all you Mean Moms (and Dads!)...
Someday when my children are old enough to understand the logic
that motivates a parent, I will tell them:
I loved you enough... to ask where you were going, with whom,
and what time you would be home.
I loved you enough... to insist that you save your money and buy a bike for yourself even though we could afford to buy one for you.
I loved you enough... to be silent and let you discover that your new best friend was a creep.
I loved you enough... to make you go pay for the bubble gum you had taken and tell the clerk, "I stole this yesterday and want to pay for it."
I loved you enough... to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your room, a job that should have taken 15 minutes.
I loved you enough... to let you see anger, disappointment and tears in my eyes. Children must learn that their parents aren't perfect.
I loved you enough... to let you assume the responsibility for your actions even when the penalties were so harsh they almost broke my heart.
But most of all, I loved you enough... to say NO when I knew you would hate me for it. Those were the most difficult battles of all. I'm glad I won them, because in the end you won too.