I was a part time student when he was born and I decided, brilliantly, I might add, to take a class in child psychology during that semester. Specifically, infant and toddler, requiring a lot of observation and okay, so I experimented a bit, but I like to think I didn't damage him much, since I just followed in the footsteps of professionals who traumatized their own kids in these ways.
My personal favorite was evaluating when he was capable of understanding cause and effect. That was *great* fun. One experiment a psychologist ran on her child I tried on Child--hooking a child up to a mobile to see if he realized when he kicked that the mobile moved. I didn't use that method exactly, since Child wasn't as endlessly fascinated by mobiles as he was by my hair, full bottles, and sleep. However, I did note that reading my chemistry book to him put him to sleep faster than you would believe, and I do believe that Physical Anthropology I used to read him while still in vitro is the entire reason he's fascinated with dinosaurs. Imagine that.
Anyway, the method I used was somewhat similar--Child had this pull toy thing that he could pull around with him, though he had yet to show real interest in it, seeing as it wasn't my hair, a bottle, or attached to his body. Well after the class had ended, I used the book to see where he was developmentally and got this *really* bright idea to tie the pull toy to his foot while he crawled around.
You'd think I'd put him in a cage the way my family carried on when they came by and saw The Reason The World Existed crawling around with three plastic puppies merrily trailing after him. Child was mildly confused at first--foot constriction, he moves, they move--but he got into the spirit of the thing pretty quickly and dragged them around everywhere. Later, after I'd Freed Him From Unnatural Bondage (I come by my drama queen instincts honestly), he was crestfallen he no longer had playmates to run aroudn after him. So I duct taped them to his foot and all was well. And duct tape, by the way, is *much* better than tying--Child is amused by the concept of something being stuck to him for *hours*. To see a similar reaction, try putting tape on a cat's back paw. It's the same, but with giggling.
I'm pretty sure this incident will show up in therapy at some point.
A really odd habit I got into, in the long run, was monitoring his food intake. Child has never been what I'd call lax on going for the sustenance thing, so I never really had to worry, but for class, I did keep notes on how much he ate, when, etc. Pretty freaking boring until we moved into actual food, at which time I developed my iron stomach. Diapers didn't phase me, throw up didn't phase me, I was feeling seriously like I was an accomplished parent, but God help me, the first time Child was seen with mushed green beans on his face I threw up.
I still shudder when I see it. Green, orange, mixing foods, I never really got used to it. I just learned to fix my eyes on something that wasn't him for as long as it took him to eat. And he set a record for how long it took me to teach him to eat relatively neatly. Because, man. Eww.
I look upon it pretty philosophically now. But let me get to the point of this little anecdote.
Being from a family that on my mother's side, inherited a *really* high metabolism, one of my very few non-worries was how *much* he was eating. As long as he kept relatively on the scale, I never worried. And I'm all for between meals snacks, provided I know what they are and can monitor what he eats--I'm laissez-faire, not stupid. And I put my foot down early on about eating whole fruit unmonitored, just because while choking to death on a graham cracker isn't terribly probable, Child loved apples and he took *very* large bites.
Anyway, day to day life comes and goes, and it's not something I would notice except the habit was there--and after a few weeks, I noticed he was eating less than usual. Hmm, says I, and I start to seriously watch him. Okay, so he still went after cookies and dinner with gusto, but the fruit supply was diminishing and yet, I rarely saw him eat it.
Rule 2--no food after bedtime. I don't have a good reason why, but I figure by the time Child's old enough to really argue with me on this one, I'll have a reason.
Anyway, going through the room one day, I find--an apple. Under his pillow.
Hmm, says I, looking at apple and making some obvious connections. He's eating these at times I can't monitor--which I still dont' know *why*, it's not like I'm a dealer cutting off his supply of fresh fruits, I just want to watch when he does it. But okay. So I showed him the evidence (his innocence was breathtaking, the best acting I've seen in my life) and cut off his apple supply for a week. He was free with the bananas and oranges (I have to peel those, so auto-monitoring, yay!) but nary an apple.
Okay, I had to have guessed it wouldn't be that easy, but he was, back then, much smaller and I figured I could keep up. Well, I was wrong.
Come to the living room a few days later, I see child turned around in a corner. Since so far as I remember, I've never assigned that punishment, this was curious behavior. However, this *was* my son, who like me, can sometimes entertain himself staring at air, much to the worry of anyone who sees us. He turns and sees me, eyes wide and mouth full--of apple. Both hands wrapped around it possessively and furtively while he chewed, eyes glazed over with the entire pulling-one-over-on-mommy thing, or hell, maybe apples are kiddie-heroin, I have no idea.
Like a tiny junkie in the corner getting his fix.
I laughed myself sick.
Which brings me to recently.
Child's never really stopped loving fruit, especially apples--I think the short term embargo made him believe I don't like them and he started rebelling early. Which is cool, except about an horu before dinner, he--that's right, wanted an apple.
(we have never recovered from this first name thing. no, i have no idea why, but there you are. nothing like your child yelling "JENNNNN" in a room full of people who know you are the parent and who look at you like you ax murder kittens. *sighs* Family, family)
"It's almost dinner."
"I'm hungry now. I want an apple."
"I want a castle in Spain."
(this used to work. he was never sure if i meant, if i get that castle, he gets the apple)
"But I *have* an apple."
(he caught on too quick.)
"Now you don't. Go play."
So dinner comes around and child picks at food. It's not a preferred, so I don't blame him too much, but I make him eat one half of everything. He looks unhappy.
I'm not the kind ot make connections--I am the type, however, to go looking for my Smallville comic books, since he runs off with them ever so often. Please God, don't let him be looking for Lana. Anyway, a search reveals--yes, issue #1. And two apple cores.
My little junkie.
I should start taking notes again.