Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Don't Eat Out of the Trash and Other Recent Lessons

We've reached the stage of life where every day is a new lesson to teach Little Man. More than the how to hold a toy or sit up - not that those aren't important - but some of the really important life lessons. The things that make you a polite suburb kid. The types of lessons that would make my grandma proud.

Lesson 1: Don't eat out of the trash can.

Simple enough. Everyone over the age of three understands about germs and other cooties that are on trash that we don't need in our bodies. Toddlers. Well, they are different. LM is so proud to help clean his plate off into the trash can after dinner, and to toss his wet diaper into the diaper pail. But sometimes when he spots something tasty (think fruit snack that he just dropped on the floor by accident and was then tossed out by a grown up) he just has to reach for it. Past the egg shells from breakfast and the foam tray that the chicken was on a few minutes earlier. Yuck.

The problem is worse when the trash is close to being full and its easy to spot things on the top. Lesson for parents - take the trash out when its about two-thirds of the way full.

The lesson was de-railed slightly when Big Girl asked about the guy that was pulling food out of the trash last time she visited my office. "How observant of you," I say. And refocus on the trashcan in our kitchen and the manners that I expect her to use.

Lesson 2: The couch is for sitting. The chair too.

Last week my ambitious toddler learned how to lift one knee up high enough to pull himself onto the couch. Getting to the couch was immediately followed by jumping. Hands on the back and bouncing as high as possible.

He got two warnings. The standard, "No. No. We don't jump on the couch. You can get hurt." Plopped back on the ground to jump up again. Then it was to think about it (a.k.a. timeout). One minute for 1 year-old.

As soon as he was free he tried the chair. The process repeated for various pieces of furniture. He had to check that the rules were the same for each piece of furniture. They are.

Two hours later I told BG that her best friend was going to spend the night. Cue jumping on the couch by her. Cue me being frustrated. "Why did you jump on the couch?"

"Well he did and he didn't get in trouble till the second time. So, I thought I could get a free pass too." Nice try. I really admire the cunning thought process.

What lessons have you been teaching recently. Do older siblings at other houses get in the way of teaching the younger ones something, or am I just super lucky? I'd like to hear how you handle it.


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