My 16th month old baby taught me a very important lesson. This is how events unfolded.
I normally give her a bottle of milk at bed time before she is lulled to sleep. Its part of the elaborate sleep routine I have devised for her. That day inadvertently I placed her bottle on the side table where she was able to reach it. And now that she knows how to open a bottle lid by twisting it, within seconds she had opened the lid and the milk spilled 3 quarters before I noticed to my shock and disappointment. Normally it wouldn’t matter but on that day there was no more milk to give her and that was the last of it. I got upset. I looked at her with an unhappy face trying to drive the point home. She looked at me with a touch of regret and then, the talented actor that she is, put on the clown act trying to divert my attention pointing at something with a big smile. I didn’t relent. She moved away with her gait spelling "Okki dokki... mommy means business". I got angrier because she seemed to have no qualms about what she did!! Remember, anger clouds your brain? So I forgot for a moment that she was only 16 months old. I had managed to salvage a quarter of the bottle and had no choice but to make do with that. Plus I was still breast feeding. The best thing, I figured, was to move on (and not cry over split milk). I gave her, her quick bath followed by drying and applying lotion. But I wasn’t smiling. I persisted with a long face so she picked up that she did something wrong. What was I expecting? A confession from a toddler who cannot talk??? Am I the adult here?... 'Oh why did she have to take the bottle in the first place?” grrrr... Next up on the routine was getting her dressed so I took the diaper out and the night dress to change into for the night. But the little elf grabbed them and ran further from me. I got more peeved. “Oh c'mon now. Don't make me run after you, girl!”
It suddenly dawned on me that she was playing a game, inviting me to join. A game of catch - me - if - you - can. Mercifully, at that enlightening moment, better sense prevailed and I decided to join her. My demeanor changed. I smiled and ran after her to catch her. End result - she in my arms laughing and happy. My anger had melted away. Yes she taught me a lesson. When the other person is angry use humor. Now we all know that you can’t fight fire with fire. Right? But we forget. So I now know how to handle a bad situation or how to resolve a heated argument with my spouse!!! And that's not all. I proceeded to give my now dressed baby few board books that she likes to browse through before sleep time. But for a change, she indicated she wanted the bottle to feed. And she gulped down the entire contents. That’s when I realized it. She went for the bottle because she was hungry and wanted to drink the milk. Poor little angel! She wasn’t being defiant or naughty. When the veil of anger had lifted, I saw clearly that it wasn't her fault at all. I saw light only after I came out of the shadow of anger. And that’s lesson number two.