Before she could walk on her own or speak a complete sentence, her tenacious personality glistened through her dark blue eyes.
Like most toddlers, Chelsea learned to pull herself up to practice walking around the furniture. At the time we had a large, heavy octagon coffee table, which quickly became the favorite gathering place for the wobbly-leg crowd.
Our tiny house made it easy to watch Chelsea crawl and explore the living room while I worked in the kitchen. As small as it was, I still couldn’t get to her in time.
She stood up next to the table. With every open-palm smack of the surface came squeals of delight — until she missed the tabletop and lost her balance. She fell face first, catching her chin on the way down.
The dull thud sent me darting into the living room. I arrived just in time to witness an omen.
With tears streaming down her face, her eyes narrowed as she grabbed the table’s edge with both hands and bit into it with all her might, as if she wanted to be sure to imprint each new tooth. Then, she pulled away, with a self-satisfied “That’ll teach you to hurt me” look washing over her face.
I dropped onto the couch as she turned and grinned at me with total satisfaction. The teeth marks in the table were a clear sign that this child had a spirit that could conquer her world.
The personalities of individual children along with unique family dynamics make any theory on raising children subjective and controversial. All children should not be disciplined the same, but rather in accordance to their own temperament and personality — in short, whatever works for your family.
There are children that test their boundaries, push their limits, and question the rules — on a daily basis. Their philosophy of life is “Edges are made to make life exciting.” Then, there’s the child whose doctrine is “Edges are boundaries — they are in place to make life safe. Rules are our friends.”
If this is your child, congratulations — you’ve hit the parental lottery. There’s no need to read any further. Enjoy your peace, and try not to judge the rest of us.
The following rules are for parents who believe in using the politically incorrect parenting method of corporal punishment — who are raising the table biters of today to grow into the movers and shakers of tomorrow.