Last night at dinner Henry and I discussed setting boundaries with HP. In theory, it sounds simple--decide what you will and will not allow, then utilizing our endless reserve of patience to consistently enforce said boundaries. In practice, my reserve of patience is anything but endless and I make exceptions when it is more convenient than following the rule.
After our discussion, I was going through my reader and saw Janet Lansbury's most recent post on discipline, which reinforced my desire to be consistent with Harvey starting now, not when he's older. (The "when he's older" excuse is the one I use most often when I feel like letting things slide: "He's only eight months... I'll work on that later...")
The most obvious area where I need to set a firm boundary is the shoes in the entryway. HP is fascinated by shoes, particularly their laces. In general, I am relaxed about what he puts in his mouth. I do not wipe off spoons when they fall on the floor, I let him lick playground equipment, and we regularly ride public transportation. But shoes? I have to draw the line somewhere, and for me, sticking my nasty Chacos into his mouth crosses it.
Until now he had mercifully avoided the front entryway where we keep all of our shoes. Last week he found it, and now regularly crawls over to pull the shoes off and stick them in his mouth or play with the laces.
I'll admit, I have let him go over and grab a shoe (more than once) when I know it will entertain him for the next ten minutes so I can finish the dishes, complete a task I have been wanting to do, or let's be honest, check my email one more time.
At this age, I think it might be easiest (and the least stress-inducing) to just move the shoes into the hall closet to take away the temptation and the accompanying need to physically remove him from the situation multiple times each day.
In the long run, I know consistency will pay off and like Janet Lansbury says, children want boundaries and thrive on consistency. I know that I should create a firm boundary so he can learn that our shoes in the entryway are not toys for him to play with. It is just so much easier not to.
But I suppose no one said parenting would be easy.