“Be careful… Don’t do that…”

Why is it that LO cries when we tell him to be careful or not to do x, y and z? We often don’t say the “C” word (“careful”) around him, and especially try to avoid saying, “no” or “don’t…” I’m guessing that whenever we tell him to be careful, he’s thinking that he’s either doing something wrong when he hasn’t done anything wrong yet, or that we’re doubting his ability. Either way, he tends to overreact.

For instance, today we were at his grandma’s house, and he was doing so well, when his younger cousin S stopped by. Initially he was fine with another kid being there, but then when we had to tell him to be careful or steer him away from a situation where he might have hurt S, he cried. He literally cried five times. At first I thought that maybe he’s just not used to socializing with little kids, but I think it’s the fact that he’s the “big” kid and has to be more careful that’s making him angry. We didn’t have to admonish him nearly as much when S wasn’t there; we were all adults and we protected him pretty well. But when there’s another kid—a younger one at that—he’s all of a sudden the one that has to be careful: careful not to step on his feet, careful not to throw the hard toy, careful not to smack S in the face.

Asides from that period where he was constantly crying, it was actually pretty cute watching the two of them playing together. They were copying each other: S would do the jig dance that LO does with his feet, LO would imitate S’s growling sounds. And LO was all around great at grandma’s. He laughed at everything, spoke and imitated Spanish, and he would even run up and give his Aunt S a hug and kiss. Plus, he got to go outside and feed grandma’s three chickens and hang out with the fruit trees and grass.

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