Myrah is now eight months old. She is crawling and standing up with support. My husband James and I are excited our baby is mobile! And what a change that brings. We need extra pairs of eyes and hands to manage her. She is all over the place – much like her parents, she doesn’t like to sit still in one place for long.
This brings with it a new set of challenges. And it is not that we have to run after her all the time, and keep her from mischief or accidents. The new question is this: should we have behavior etiquette for our baby?
At mothergoose sessions or parent-baby programs, she loves interacting with other babies. She crawls to them and reaches her hand out to touch them, pull their hair or just poke them. Should we prevent her from doing that? At birthday parties, she takes toys from other kids, and sometimes even puts them in her mouth – should we stop her from exploring these new toys? At church, in the middle of the sermon, when everybody is quiet, she decided break into her chatter. Should we stifle her talking?
Much as we hate to stop her from being her natural self, we understand that it is important to set limits for her that will make her less intimidating to other babies and parents. As parents, we have to show her to be gentle and not aggressive, to be friendly and not yet overbearing. In her small world, this seems like a humongous task. All she wants to do is see and feel and experience new things around her everyday. But as gatekeepers to the big world ahead of her, we have the responsibility of setting the right balance for her.
How do you teach an eight month old to restrain herself? I guess this is where real complex parenting begins. Looking ahead, we wonder how we will influence her attitude and behavior. We feel the weight of this responsibility already. We are taking advice from friends and family, watching other parents and following our own gut. But the enormity of the situation is becoming more real.
Days ahead will teach us more….but right now what we are concerned about is baby etiquette. If you have thoughts or tips, please feel free to share.