This month, we have mostly been doing things we are not supposed to. And by we, I mean the baby. In a few days, he will be eighteen months old and the terrible twos have arrived early. He’s discovered the dog (and her tail), he’s realised that bouncing on the sofa is the most fun he can have and, thanks to Easter, he’s learned about chocolate. The long-suffering dog is taking his attentions in her stride, although she’s happier to be locked safely in the kitchen than she was before. The sofa is bearing up but it’s only a matter of time before there’s a head-meets-floor incident and don’t get me started about the chocolate. The word ‘No’ is met by either laughter or a tantrum (from the baby, not me). In short, he is testing the boundaries.
I realise that the way we handle things now will have an impact that lasts for years. It’s obviously unfair om the dog when he over-enthusiastically pats her head so hard that she winces. Bouncing on the sofa is dangerous and chocolate equals a world of problems, so these things need to be tackled. But how do you explain to a toddler the reasons why he shouldn’t do something he thinks is fun? And how am I supposed to stop him eating chocolate when it’s sometimes the only thing keeping me going?
We’re trying a firm no, followed by distraction. The dog is spending a lot of time in the kitchen. We try to block off the sofa and lift the baby down when he attempts to climb up and run from one end to the other (the footstool has moved into the garage after it became clear it was an accident waiting to happen). He’s learning that chocolate runs out (an important life lesson when living in the same house as a writer) and seems to be just as happy with raisins. But if anyone has a better way to do it, including a sure-fire way to stop him leaving the freezer door open, I’d be happy to hear it. Preferably before my Haagen Dazs melts.