Rebel in a diaper...
But just when does rebellion start? Recently my husband and I chose to leave our church home of nearly 7 years. One of the issues was a disagreement over when rebellion starts. Our church had chosen to advocate an author who defines rebellion as even an infant who continues to struggle during a diaper change after being told not to. Another example given in this book of rebellion was an 8 month old child who was examining books on a shelf, then after being reprimanded by Mom, returned to the shelf presumably to pick up where she left off.
But is this really rebellion? I don't think so. In my mind (and we all know how warped it is... ;-) in order for someone to rebel, that "someone" has to have an identified authority to rebel against. And this is where we get into a problem when we say that infants are rebelling.
Many years ago a wise woman told me that the primary root cause of child abuse is age inappropriate expectations--parents who expect behavior from their children that is not appropriate to expect at the child's age. To avoid that pitfall she reccommended that I educate myself about normal childhood development. Fortunately I had already taken a class on childhood development which I have since supplemented with further learning as I have undertaken the momentous task of mothering.
Something I learned back in that class was the concept that infants do not understand that other people want different things than they want. If the infant wants to each Cheerios and hates brocolli, they can not comprehend that another person would want brocolli. In testing, children about 10-12 months old will readily feed a parent Cheerios. But when directed to feed the parent a food that the child does not like--perhaps brocolli--they will get a confused look on their face, and feed the parent Cheerios.
Is the child rebelling against the instruction? NO! The child simply can not comprehend that the parent would want brocolli, and thus feeds Cheerios. Between about 14-18 months of age this changes. They child may be confused, but will give the parent brocolli when asked to do so. The child is starting to understand that other people want different things than the child does.
Does an infant have a will? YES! Does the infant get angry when that will is twarted? YES! But is the infant capable of rebellion? I don't think so.
So going back to the infant struggling during a diaper change. The infant wants to explore the world, crawl away. The infant has no concept--even if told by the parent--that the parent wants the child to stay still. (do we really even know that a 6-7 month old infant understands what the parent is saying???) So what is the parent to do? The diaper needs to be changed! A wise parent will be fully ready to do a speedy diaper change, and will creatively think of ways to entertain the infant during the process--kisses, zerberts, funny voice, toys, diapers turned into puppets...