My baby Gabbie is not so little anymore. He has grown one tooth, is sprouting another, and has gotten so much heavier that my back and my knees almost buckle at the weight. He can now go from a sleeping position to sitting up, and attempts straight away to pull himself up against the wall all in a matter of seconds. My little guy will be one year old in seven days. With all these changes, we have seen swollen gums, two booboos on the forehead from falling accidents, and a perennial aching back for Mommy.
|My big boy proudly showing off his two front bottom teeth|
Apparently, 11 months has passed since I have given birth to my little baby. Seriously, it’s not funny when I realized how fast babies grow. Now, our issues are no longer frequent nursings or fear of crushing a tiny baby when we co-sleep. I now contend with constantly finding entertainment and stimulation for a learning baby, running after him in his walker, formulating healthy recipes for feeding, and…discipline. That last one is especially challenging for me and my husband, first-time parents that we are. While we now discern Gabbie’s different cries—we have tried to come to terms with the different emotions those illicit from us. I find that in certain instances where he would show anger (i.e. crying fitfully, kicking legs) for not getting his way, I would also feel indignation at the apparent insolence. I really had to pray for grace to be able to deal with the swell of emotions and the instinct to control things, being his mom and all. We would carry him, and talk to him firmly but gently and tell him “no”. Daddy has given him several “man-to-man” talks already and to some degree, Gabbie has shown some understanding. Sometimes though, his reaction to me telling him “no” was more anger and crying. It seemed easier, and was really tempting to just carry him and let it go. After all, he is just a baby. But something also tells me that discipline is love. And that it is my duty to set him in the right path…as early as possible. If he knows how to throw a tantrum, then he is ready for discipline.
My husband and I have long decided to use the rod as a tool to instill discipline to our children, along with loving communication. We know the wisdom behind “breaking the will” of a child, whose “heart is bound up in folly” (Proverbs 22:15). Sin is inborn, yet that is not what will lead Gabbie. Our God’s will for him is great; it is our duty as his parents to set him towards his real purpose, by God’s grace, and one way to do that is by instilling good habits and getting him comfortable with discipline. Discipline becomes more painful as we grow older, I know that now (I still get a big "ouwee!" when I experience discipline at my age). This is why setting rules and boundaries at an early age is critical. Past a certain age, disciplining a child successfully becomes virtually impossible.
And so, as early as now, we have begun using the rod. He threw his first tantrum at around nine months of age, and we talked to him then about how that's not allowed in our family. But we used the rod only only now on his 11th month as we believe that he can now understand better. We used the rod, and we offered restoration after, explaining why it happened and securing him in our love. His warm, quiet hug to me after ensured me that he understood.
There were times when we miss Gabbie as a little infant, but we are enjoying every bit of his growing process because while there are pains and challenges, there is also that gift of growth and progress. Our little baby is growing up fast, which only means that he is on the fast-track leading to his full potential! So while growing up has its pains, both for baby and mommy (and daddy, too!), the joy of it all is immense and all I can really do is enjoy every moment of it.
Next up: Keeping up with an energetic toddler and toilet-training! :)