When Being Clever Turns Around and Bites Me in the Armpit

You’ve heard, I’m sure, that you should praise ten times for every time you correct, right? Don’t answer any question with a “no,” you win more flies with sugar, and all that?

Easier said than done, but I thought I’d scored a coup when I came up with a new response to Boobaby’s insistence on chewing on toys, sticks, and furniture. Instead of “Not for mouth!”, I switched to saying:

“That’s for your armpit!”


“That’s for your clavicle!”

For a while, it worked great. Instead of eating her orca doll, she now stuffs it into her armpit. Board books are no longer snacks: they’re to be balanced on one’s collarbone.

Well, I’d forgotten about furniture until I came into the dining room today and discovered Boo trying to armpit the table. She was sort of hanging there by one elbow, armpitting the end of the leaf that she had started mouthing last week.

She’s armpitting everything today. She armpitted the couch. She tried to do the cat, who fortunately was already pretty wary of the small creature rubbing her armpit everywhere. And, in the ultimate reversal, she started shoving her sippy cup up there and I heard myself say “Not for armpit!”

It must be Friday — I just can’t win.