One of the things you have to manage, as a parent of a toddler, is the tension between your desire to reward your child’s intellectual development and your desire not to have him destroy your stuff or pour water all over you.
For instance, just now Henry had a bottle of water that he was taking great delight in using to spray water everywhere, including on Elana’s leg. He was not, however, drinking from the bottle anymore. So Elana gently took the water away from him and said, “I don’t really want you to do that.”
Previously he would have thrown a fit when someone took something from him. But this time he experienced a burst of creativity — ingenuity, even! — and politely signed “drink” while making a very innocent and thirsty face.
Now, on the one hand, I know what he’s going to do with the bottle, and I don’t want him to do it. Also, who wants a sneaky child? But on the other hand, I want to scoop him up and cuddle him and reward him for the cleverness of his lie. And the sheer cheek of it is surprisingly cute. Ah, the paradoxes of parental affection.