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I know it’s inevitable. At some point in time every little one gets mobile and life changes, but I was secretly hoping for a few more months of “stationary” play! Officially, she began crawling at 5.5 months. This isn’t our earliest. Her sister, Emily, started crawling at the same time 17 years ago and she hasn’t stopped moving since! We will have to see if Joanna walks at the early age of 8.5 months, as her older sister did. Time will tell. Having a little one reach that wonderful age of mobility quickly moves them into a new phase of learning, which means it moves us, as parents, into a new phase of teaching. Now that she is scooting across the floor we need to begin training her to make good choices. Of course, this will be a gradual process, but now she will be discovering toys left out by siblings, the cat food dish, a fireplace, older siblings with quick feet, etc. One of the most comical learning opportunities comes when the little ones begin to learn to negotiate the happily wagging tail of our big (giant to them) black Labs.

It is all good! It is all supposed to happen! Every stage of life is special, and laying a foundation of love and respect early is critical to a great relationship later. Teaching her that “no” means “no” will be one of the next things she learns, and when she is a little older and getting around well, it will be time for her to learn “Joanna, come here, please”.

Sadly, as parents of young children, it’s easy to train children that we are not serious about our requests. And the constant negotiating or nagging eventually can wear a parent out and put a strain on the relationship. But if one establishes “no” early or “come here” early then parents will naturally have a better relationship with their child, for the simple reason that there’s not always a mini war on their hands. Children thrive with love and healthy boundaries. Good seeds planted now will bear good fruit later and as a father and a farmer, life has taught me planting the good seeds is the way to go.

- Tristan