Thursday, September 30, 2010
its beginning to look a little like autumn
this is what tristan and i created together last thursday, on the first day of autumn. we had run out of construction paper and i was wracking my brain, trying to think of how to re-use paper without the chain looking ugly, when it hit me. i had a bunch of old magazines laying around that i was going to donate to the thrift store. there was one from thanksgiving 2009 in the stack, so tristan helped me pick out the pages that looked the most fall/thanksgiving-ish and we set to work cutting strips. well, i cut the strips and tristan got lots and lots of little pieces of tape ready on the side of the table. it still seems odd to me that thanksgiving is so late in the year here, which means that the chain turned out pretty darn long. and, in hindsight, we should have picked pages that didn't have any writing on the opposite side, but we both thought the end result looked quite nice. now, if only tristan's baby brother would stop pulling the chain down and towing it around the house every 5 minutes....
oh, samuel. i really don't know why i expect him to be so similar to his brother in some ways when i know very well that he is the exact opposite of his brother in pretty much every way. like i've said before, we never really baby-proofed with tristan. we just taught him the meaning of the word "no" and we followed up repeated offences with a quick as lightening slap to the hand and that did the trick perfectly. samuel hears the "no", knows what it means and remembers the consequence. you can see him weighing the pros and cons of what he is about to do and then, 9 times out of 10, he goes ahead and disobeys anyway. usually the repeated offence is eating dirt or grass or large mouthfuls of sand. if you've ever changed the dirty diaper of a sand-eating baby, you know exactly why i holler "NO EATING!" at the top of my lungs every time he goes for another handful.
so, along with the thanksgiving-countdown-chain making last thursday i also took out our few autumnish decorative items and had tristan help me set them around the house. a framed picture of our family, a small pumpkin that says "give thanks" and a large candle in a lidded jar painted with leaves and acorns looked quite nice on a low table in one corner of the kitchen. this low table, however, put the decorative items right in samuel's line of sight. stubbornly thinking that i could most certainly teach him not to touch without having to remove the items to a higher shelf, i set to work as soon as he awoke from his nap that day, pointing to the table and saying "no touching" over and over while he pointed and oohed and ahhed and pointed again, then held both of his hands behind his back and walked away. "well, well!" i thought to myself, "it looks like we may not have to have a baby gate around the entire christmas tree this year after all!" oh, was i wrong.
samuel is quite stealthy in his disobedience. like any smart young child, he waited until mommy was out of the room before he very thoroughly inspected the small ceramic pumpkin. i came into the room to find the leaves of it in his mouth. he jumped when i said, "samuel!" which just proved that he knew he was guilty. he sweetly held the slobbery pumpkin up to me and let his dimples and eyelashes do the talking. i took him back over to the table and went through the whole "no touching" routine once more. once more, he seemed to understand perfectly. all was well with the table items for the next few days until monday, when i found him walking around the living room with the framed picture under his little arm. this time i was much more firm and gave his hand a little slap. he didn't cry, but sort of pouted and went to his toy box to play. then, moments later while i was removing clean laundry from the clothes dryer, i hear the sound of something shattering in the kitchen. i rushed in to see a wide-eyed open-mouthed little boy holding the remnants of a ceramic acorn with the rest of the lid smashed all around him.
i was pretty angry about it. but once i had everything cleaned up i realized that i really should just be angry with myself. i don't think its normal for a 16 month old to resist the strong temptation of forbidden goodies displayed at eye level. tristan's behavior wasn't the norm; samuel's is. i see this now and am prepared to baby proof the christmas tree in a couple of month's time and put my pretty little pumpkin on a higher shelf. still, i'd love to know how to baby proof a sand-filled playground. more than that, i'd love to know why he can't seem to eat enough sand to satisfy him, yet he loves to throw his real food down onto the ground after only eating a couple of bites. but i guess that would be a whole other blog post...