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My 7-month-old is all about slapping things these days. The bath water, the highchair tray, the stuffed doggie, everything gets some hard open-handed slaps. (She sure is learning a lot about textures, resistance, and density. And noise.)

So I was playing with her this morning, and she slapped me on the cheek a few times. It was actually hard enough to sting. I caught her hand and used it to stroke my cheek softly, saying, "Be gentle with Mama, Alex!" I let her hand go. She slapped me hard a couple more times. I took her hand and demonstrated stroking again: "be gentle with Mama, honey."

That time when I let her hand go she lifted it to my cheek and stroked me softly. "That's right! That feels nice." We gave each other a big hug.

I've been providing guidance from the very beginning - "No, Alex, only Mama gets to hold the dirty diaper" - but this is the first time that she's actually modified her behavior in response. I feel proud of us both. I know this is a tiny, tiny thing, and just a first start, but coming in the same week that my in-laws recommended slapping the baby's hands, it feels like something to celebrate.
 
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