Ever since he started getting into things (and especially now that he’s gotten his first tooth, for reasons which should be obvious) I’ve been trying to teach Happy Fun Baby the meaning of the word “no.” When he does something I don’t want him to do, I say “No!” in a sharp voice, while knitting my brow and making my face stern. He’s a very attentive baby, so right from the beginning he reacted to it. His reaction? Gee, mom seems unhappy. I wonder what she’s unhappy about. Maybe I will stop what I’m doing and see if I can cheer her up. He’d smile tentatively, and when that didn’t make me smile in return he’d drop the cord or stop eating the DVD case, and I’d grin and shower him with praise.

Yesterday, though, it finally occurred to him that I wasn’t just unhappy; I was unhappy with him. He went to eat my computer cord, I said “No!” and his face just crumpled. Wailing, wailing, like I had broken his little heart.

I know it’s probably a good thing, this new-found awareness, but it kind of kills me.

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