Sunday Scribblings: Punishment and Reward
This is Ella, my beautiful, funny 16-month old daughter. Most of the time she is a source of pure joy with her laughter and curiosity. But her sense of wonderment can get the best of her, and me. For instance, she loves to put things in her mouth. You name it--week-old crackers, crayons (LOVES crayons), paper--if it's under something or hidden in a thick layer of dust, she'll find it.
So yesterday we decorated our Christmas tree, putting the fragile ornaments on the top, and a few plastic ones around the bottom (my son helped with the low-hanging ones). And while Ella was great at handing me things to put on the tree, she was even better at removing them as soon as I looked away, over and over again, all afternoon.
Now I know Ella doesn't get what a Christmas tree is, and that next year she won't take things off of the tree so freely. But I'm not sure how to discipline her--or at least get her to stop what she's doing. I think taking the ornaments, putting them in her mouth, and rolling them down the holiday brings her a little closer to understanding the holidays in some way. Of course, when Christmas comes, she's going to really enjoy the tree, the food, and opening presents with her brother and relatives.
So I throw this questions out to the Sunday Scribblings audience: What should I do here? Should I remove the low ornaments and be done with it, or is there some way I can teach Ella to look but not touch. And maybe this is part of a larger question: What do you do with a child when "no" doesn't work?