Monkey See, Monkey Do
How do you discipline a 14-month-old for throwing a banana at you?
Because I really don’t want to raise a spoiled banana-thrower. Maggie would never be invited to birthday parties. Think of the hours she would spend in detention if we don’t get this fruit flinging behavior straightened out.
Yesterday I stopped home for a quick workout over my lunch hour. By the time I was done, Jim had picked Maggie up from his parents. I greeted her with a hug and we enjoyed a few minutes of play. On my way out the door back to work, I grabbed a banana as a pre-lunch snack. Maggie ran up to me with hopeful, hungry eyes, indicating that she wanted some. I presented the banana and offered her a bite. But NOOOOO. That wasn’t good enough. She wanted the whole thing, peel and all. She started flailing and squawking like a chimpanzee high on PCP.
I didn’t want my child gnawing on a pesticide-ridden unwashed banana peel, so I removed the fruit from the peel and handed it to her.
And she screamed, wild-eyed, snatched it from my extended hand, and threw it at me.
Her diminutive body writhed and twitched with fury.
I waved my finger in her face, waggled my head at her and procalimed "OH NO YOU DIH-INT!"
Okay. I didn't really do that.
“No. No. Maggie.” I said sternly, muffling a laugh. I tried again to hand her the banana.
She angrily slapped my hand away.
I tried one last time. Again, she clutched the chunk of fruit in her hand for one fleeting moment, then wound up and indignantly pelted me with it.
It’s hard not to laugh at a toddler in a rabid rage. Really. It is. They look so comical. Like little caricatures of adults, all red-faced and frenzied in their cherubic wrathful state. So overcome with emotion, they just can’t STAND it. They stick their chins out, stomp their tiny feet, and bare their four cockeyed baby teeth at you. Their small arms and legs tremble with anger.
However, as the person responsible for teaching my daughter how to manage her emotions in a socially acceptable way, I think it’s best not to laugh at her, lest she feel mocked. So I hunkered down and did my best to mirror her anger. My non-verbal way of letting her know that I got it. She was MAD. I scrunched up my face, clenched my fists and said “OOOOOH! OOOOH!! Are you SO MAD? SOOOOO MAD!”
She paused her tantrum and cocked an eye at me quizzically. Then she threw her head back and laughed uproariously. She then turned on her heel and toddled off to play in her room, giggle-hiccuping down the hall. The banana was completely forgotten.
Uh-huh, dis my shit.
Chalk one up for Mommy.
I ain't no hollaback girl.