Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Attachment and Desire

The Daddy Life has been silent for some months now. Roughly two months, between the time when my boy moved from 15 months young to 17 months old. I assure you that we are all well and busy, navigating the paths of Christmastime, family, the new year, and co-op preschool.
Somewhere in the midst of all those traditions, my little boy took new steps toward becoming a person. He has begun to express preference and WANT things. And I mean REALLY want them. He is no longer to be distracted by a quick switch from the toybox, or a funny face, or a book. He REMEMBERS. He's a persistent little guy.

Sometimes he gets what he wants, and sometimes he doesn't. We have been very careful not to introduce the word NO into his 20 word vocabulary, but it's bound to come out soon. Instead, we try to find ways to moderate our language.

ME: (very calmly) We don't put our hands in the toilet water. You can wash your hands in the sink.

JEEP: (splash splash)

Fortunately, he's still small enough that I can pick him up and remove him from most situations. Last week he was underfoot while we were in the kitchen making dinner. His mother and I were both standing nearby when he GRABBED A PAN OFF THE STOVE. What the H? How did this kid get so tall? He's tall enough to get things off the countertop, but still too small to trust near the stove. Superdad over here snatched that hot pan right out of his little hands before there were sauteed onions all over the room.

There are boundaries, and then there are REAL boundaries. The ones that involve safety are hard and fast. I might have yelled out a NO! on that one.

As the Stay-At-Home-Parent, I am sure that the setting of boundaries and molding of behavior will fall on my shoulders. I have experience in this, from my former career as a special education teacher. But never before have I been quite so closely tied to my client.

I tend to laugh it off when he gives me THE LOOK (see below). But who am I kidding? I love this little guy, and I hate to see him upset.

I guess my job is changing again. Its moving from keeping my boy safe, dry, clothed, and well-fed, and into more challenging arenas. He has discovered DESIRE. There are eastern religions which attribute attachment and desire as the cause of all unhappiness. I don't really buy that. My boy has a boundless capacity for happiness, and I won't squash it. Have we entered the realm of PHILOSOPHY here? Does it fall upon me to teach my boy to moderate his own desires in the world around him?

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