Saturday, May 10, 2008

Shall We Nickname You Whitney?

The day after Emily Rose mastered climbing onto couches and recliners, she moved on to the dining room chairs. Last night I let her stand on one of them to watch the backyard for birds, bunnies, and squirrels, while I cooked dinner, keeping her within view the whole time.

We initially found that if the chairs were pushed in, she would leave them alone. Not true anymore. This morning I went down the hall to put some linens away, and when I came back to her, she was sitting ON TOP of the dining room table, with Daniel's orange juice glass in hand. She was smiling that tentative smile; you know the one. The aren't-I-so-cute-when-I'm-mischievous smile. Yeah, that girl is climbing Mt. Whitney, alright.

I quickly judged the distance to the floor from where she was perched, and decided it could lead to a concussion. We have to devise a plan to keep that girl out of the emergency room. One entrance to the dining room has bi-fold glass doors, but the other can easily be gated off. In some baby catalog I remember seeing plastic devices one can buy that fit on the top of bi-fold doors, keeping them rigidly closed.

Life with Emily means our living space is devoid of anything that makes a home look inviting. Picture frames, dried flower arrangements......pretty much all nicknacks within her reach have been removed. I can't quite remember our house looking so bare when the boys were toddlers. Maybe I was more into being an authoritarian trainer of children? Was it just that I had fewer kids, meaning I was always right there? Was I more patient, tolerating the repetition of removing baby from trouble, rather than trouble from baby?

I hold my ground in the kitchen. I won't tolerate annoying safety clips on every cupboard. She gets into the can cupboard, and once fell while running with a can in her hand, giving herself a nasty bruise. Now, if she continues to get out cans after I've told her "No" twice, I put her in the playpen for about two minutes for a time-out. That works. The only other time I use the playpen is when I have to go to the bathroom.

It's a fine dance, this raising of toddlers. Even though she is a late talker, her receptive language (what she understands), is extremely good. There's no doubt about that; she's ready for some light, beginning discipline. Distraction and removal are probably more recommended at seventeen months, but that is harder to keep up with when there are multiple kids in the house.

One thing's for sure. It's all worth it! One Eskimo kiss, one sweetie-pie hug, and the frustrations melt away. There's always that continual reinforcement that these are truly the best years of my life. Yeah...I think I can do this again.

Now my husband? He's not so sure. I think if we were told we're having twins, he'd probably take that economic stimulus check and escape to a remote island.


Jen(ni)/Fern said...

Ugh. My Helena has just moved out of a mercifully brief stage of climbing on top of the dining room table. She is just now 18 months, so maybe Emily Rose will get bored with it soon!

My husband often comments that he doesn't remember it being so bad with the twins. That was because we had them gated out of the whole house save one room!

Ashley said...

It's really a shame they look so cute sitting on top of the table, isn't it?