July 21, 2011

give me strength!

Ever since I read this blog post at Pancakes and French Fries and then this one at All & Sundry, I've had this paranoia about scissors and adult writing implements being left at kiddo height (obviously a valid concern to have). One morning I came downstairs with Lincoln to find a Sharpie and a box cutter on the floor from a project that hubs had been working on the night before and I flipped. Fortunately, I discovered them long before Lincoln did and returned them to a safe place, but my radar is definitely on for that kind of thing. And with a sewing room full of needles, rotary cutters, scissors and various other implements and marking tools, I try to keep pretty good tabs on all of it all the time.

We do, however, keep a box of crayons out for Lincoln to draw with. He's colored on the wall a couple of times but we've talked about it, Magic Erasered it, and went along our merry way. But then this morning Lincoln was sitting on the couch watching Monsters, Inc. while I folded laundry, and I went into the laundry room to start another load. I returned a couple of minutes later to find him standing in front of the couch with a red crayon in his hand, having scribbled big scrawls on three of the five seat cushions and one of the throw pillows. I didn't notice at first- I just asked him if he wanted to go upstairs with me to help me change the sheets on the bed and then I realized what I was actually looking at. Mama was NOT pleased and Lincoln got some serious time out while I tried to clean up his mess. Fortunately, I think the cushions must be stain protected, or else Bac-Out is more of a miracle worker than I ever realized, but it all came off with no trouble. We had a nice long discussion about how crayons must only be used to draw on paper, and I thanked my lucky stars that it wasn't a permanent marker.

Now cut to two hours later, and we had just finished a nice lunch on the deck and I'm in the kitchen cleaning up. Lincoln comes by and, as he often does, he stops at the open dishwasher to investigate. We discourage him every time, and shoo him away to play with something else, but there is something magnetic about dirty dishes to a toddler, apparently, and he just keeps coming back for more. Typically he reaches for one of his spoons from the cutlery rack, and we'll take it back and tell him that they're dirty and need to be washed before he can use them again. Today though, he must have been riding the high from his couch decorating adventure or something, because he went straight for a knife (a butter knife, but still), grabbed it from the tray and took off running and laughing maniacally. I yelled for him to stop and took off after him, but it was a fun game at this point and he was darting back and forth on the opposite side of the table from me, fully invested in our game of cat & mouse. I finally caught him halfway down the hallway, after hesitating trying to decide whether it was safer to give chase or not, since I didn't want him to get all worked up and fall on the knife. I scooped him up and took the knife from his hand, then sat him down in a chair for time out. The whole time that I was trying to explain to him that knives weren't toys and that running with knives was absolutely not a good idea, he was laughing a deep belly laugh like I was tickling him instead of reprimanding him. There was nothing jovial in the tone of my voice, and I had a firm grip on his arms to try to get him to sit down and take a time out, but to Lincoln, we were having the best time we'd had all day! What gives? How are you supposed to teach toddlers about dangerous things when they don't seem to get the difference between serious and hilarious? I'm puzzled. And exhausted. David returns tonight from a 9 day business trip, and I couldn't be happier. I can't wait to hand over half of the parenting responsibility to someone else again. Just a few hours to go! I hope we both survive!