Sunday, April 4, 2010

Babies don't hold grudges

A couple of evenings ago, on my way upstairs to go shower, I heard Jean-Louis curse and yell at Tristan in the bathroom. He was bathing Tristan. Like any toddler, Tristan likes to stand up, splash water, pull out the plug in the bathtub etc. and that makes it challenging to clean him properly. Jean-Louis didn't have a lot of patience that night and because Tristan wouldn't cooperate during the bath, he was mad. When I came back downstairs from my shower to fetch the milk for Tristan, I entered the office only to find a grumpy looking Daddy just sitting on the floor with Tristan. Tristan had drool all over his mouth and chin and a big runny nose. However Tristan was happily playing on the floor by himself. Following our nightly routine, I set Tristan up for his milk and Jean-Louis went to shower. I signed to Tristan that Daddy was going to shower (or more like bathe) and Tristan and I waved good-bye to him. For the first time, Daddy did not wave or say good-bye back. He just glared at us and then closed the door. Ooookay.

This whole event got me thinking how great it is that babies don't hold grudges against us. Tristan gets yelled at a lot and he sometimes struggles with us when we try to change or dress him. Sometimes he will even cry out of frustration. But unlike adults, he forgets and forgives quickly. One minute he may cry and if presented with the right stimuli, the next minute he could be giggling and hugging us. It's incredible really. I think we can all learn a bit more from babies.

Why do we act mad at people? So that they will feel guilty and say sorry? A 16 month old will not do that. So they will learn what makes you unhappy and behave better next time? Again, I don't think a 16 month old will do that. I have learned that no matter how frustrated and mad I may get from taking care of Tristan, I just can't be mad or act mad at him. It doesn't benefit everyone. I just try to brush it aside and move on. Sometimes it is very difficult though! Depending on the situation, I may try to explain to him that I am sad and that it would make me happy if he would act differently. He may not understand it but if I keep saying it, maybe he will learn one day. I also feel better because I tried to do something about it.

Jean-Louis has a harder time than me handling Tristan because he doesn't have as much patience. He gets mad when Tristan doesn't listen to him. This is beginning to happen more and more often now too. When he watches Tristan while I cook, he wants to just sit down and tweet, while Tristan plays in front of him. Unfortunately, watching Tristan means running after him a lot. If you are lucky, you do get to sit and relax for maybe five minutes. He gets annoyed every time Tristan starts to climb the stairs because he will have to go get Tristan and bring him back to the living room. Then Jean-Louis tries to explain no to Tristan and tells him the stairs are dangerous. What happens next? Tristan keeps climbing the stairs and Jean-Louis keeps going after him. I then tell Jean-Louis that Tristan is playing "catch me if you can" so just play with him.

Tristan is a toddler and he won't stay still so don't expect him to. I point out to Jean-Louis that he is actually using the same tactic to get Tristan to do something as Tristan is using when he wants something from us. What does he do when Tristan doesn't listen? He says it again louder and then repeatedly louder. It just doesn't work. How should we deal with disciplining Tristan and getting him to listen more? We don't really know. We have a book on this subject so maybe it's time to start reading it. But having said all that, Tristan does listen a lot too and we think he behaves quite well most of the time. I guess expecting him to always listen is unrealistic of us too.


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