Tag Archive | Chair

Watch Your Step

We are trying to teach Shlomo an important lesson: Don’t get into a place that you can’t get out of.

That is, we are trying to teach him this lesson, literally.  I still have a hard time with this lesson in a figurative sense, although, to my credit, I usually manage it (thank G-d, may it continue).

Listen here, Shlomo, and listen well:

DO NOT get into a place that you can’t get out of.

That means don’t lock yourself in the bathroom, if you’ve never tried unlocking that sticky lock before.  And don’t break the doorknob.  (No, he didn’t do this; why would you even think so?)

That means don’t climb into the playpen if you can’t get out of it by yourself.

That means don’t climb onto a chair that you’re afraid to get off of, because it’s too high and too narrow.

That means don’t get onto a couch that you don’t want to get off of.  It means don’t climb up stairs that you don’t want to climb down.  It means don’t get onto a riding toy that you’re scared to get off of.  (All of which, to your credit, you have managed to conquer, albeit after some prodding.)

It means, in four words:  Think (or look) before you leap.  Not before you open your mouth, or commit to something.  Before you leap – or run, or climb – physically.  Especially into playpens, and onto horizontal surfaces.

Although, Shlomo, to your credit, you seem to do a lot of looking and thinking before you do anything – which means fewer bumps, falls, and bruises for you.  And, apparently, it runs in [your father’s] family – your grandmother said that all of her kids were like that.

See, here’s the rule: Whoever got you into that situation, has to get you out.  It’s hard to enforce this rule right now, but we’re trying.

So it goes like this:  I put you in the playpen, I take you out.  Abba (Daddy) puts you in the playpen, Abba takes you out.  You put yourself into the playpen – better get yourself out.  You’re right, I usually give in to this one.  But only after a few minutes, which, at your age, probably feels like fifteen minutes.  I even tried to teach you how to climb out!  (Yes, you read that right.  I tried to teach you how to climb out, knowing full well that this skill would be applied, almost immediately, to your crib.  Luckily for me, the sides of your playpen are higher than those of the crib (or the mattress is lower, whichever), and you are too careful a toddler to try something that doesn’t look safe.  Or maybe you’re too much of a perfectionist to try something that you’re not certain you’ll succeed at.  Either way, I count myself lucky, and pray that you continue to be this way, and that all your siblings are like this, too.)

Sometimes, though, you’re just a bit too curious.  It runs in the family, it’s true.  But not everything that runs in the family is beneficial.  So, try to curb it – at least until you’re sure that what you’re doing is a good idea.

The Amazing Box

playing in a box, baby in a box, child in a box, crawling in a box, box, boxes, kids playing, creative playA few weeks ago, my MIL sent us a box of stuff.  Actually, that’s not true.  A few weeks ago, we received a box of stuff that my MIL sent us.  She sent the box a month before we received it; it apparently had gotten stuck at the port, where they had to check its contents and do the rest of the usual customs procedures.  We got a note that we had a box at the post office, and Yitzchak went up to get it, paying 245 shekels (about $62) in customs fees.

The box contained clothes, boots, a coat (remember, it was sent at the beginning of the winter, and Shlomo is her first grandchild) and toys.  The best toy?  The box itself.  Good thing she knew that would happen, or else she might be insulted.

We put Shlomo in the box.  We tickled him while he was in it.  Shlomo drank his milk in the box, and closed the flaps over his head as best he could.  He stepped on it and played with it, colored on it and and climbed in it and dumped it, and eventually, I cut off one of the shorter sides, thinking to throw it away, but deciding that it was still a good toy.   Turns out that was a good decision, because cutting off one of the sides made it even more fun.  Now, Shlomo could get in and out by himself!  Wow, this was cool!

So, in and out he went. He layed down in the box, and asked me to “close” the top of it.  He crawled into it.  He stood it up on its side and put his doll and her stroller into it, and closed the flaps behind them.  He put the box, top down, on the floor, and crawled into the “cave”.  Then I crawled into the cave (only my head and shoulders fit), and he came in after me.  Then, I had to go into the cave again.  And again.

When, two days ago, I was rearranging our storage areas (closets, under beds, boxes, etc.) to put away some clothes, I ended up emptying two boxes.  They were kind of dirty, of course, because they had been outside, but it was late, so I left them on the kitchen floor and went to bed.

And in the morning, the first thing Shlomo wanted to play with were these filthy boxes.  I let him play with them for a few minutes, and then put them outside the door, washed his hands, and gave him his clean, broken box.

I wonder when the box will finally get tossed.  On the other hand, it’s a really good, inexpensive, creative toy.

Chair-Rocking

chair leaning back, chair tilted back, tilted chair, leaning chair, tipped chair, chair, tipped

For many months, Shlomo has been banging (or rocking) his chair back.  He has a booster chair, that straps onto a regular chair.  And he bangs it – and the attached chair – back and forth.  It used to annoy me.  It still does.  But now, it is also dangerous.

Imagine a kid in school who leans their chair backwards, so that it is only standing on two legs, but supported by the desk of the person behind them, by the wall, or by the child’s own feet.  Then, move the child’s seat up another eight inches, shorten their legs to about a foot and a half, and add weight to the chair.  The child’s head is now above the top of the chair, because the seat has been moved up eight inches.  Now, take away the coordination that the child is using to keep the chair steady, and take away the supporting wall or desk.  That’s what we have.  It is scary.

We have tried everything to get him to stop: Taking away the food, moving him away from the table, putting him in time-out.  We have tried time-outs on our laps, holding him still (this has been getting progressively harder, and is no longer a viable option), and using our scary voices and the word “dangerous”.  Shlomo stops for about two minutes (if we’re lucky), and then starts again.

And then, on Shabbat morning, Yitzchak got a brilliant idea.  The idea had been born Friday night, when I detected a foot or feet banging against chair and table.  I tersely asked (not blamed!) Yitzchak if he was the one doing the banging.  He said no; it was Shlomo.  Great.  Now there’s no way to get the banging to stop, because with Shlomo, I have to carefully pick fights.  This isn’t dangerous, it isn’t hurtful, and in essence, it isn’t problematic.  It just annoys me.  Yitzchak reminded me that there was nothing we could do about it.  Yeah, thanks.  That’s what I needed to hear, right?  Obviously, I already know that.  So, I kept my mouth shut.

On Shabbat morning, Shlomo started banging his chair back and forth.  Yitzchak moved the chair away from the table, took hold of one of the little feet, and started banging the foot against the chair.  Shlomo took the cue, and began banging his feet, alternately, against the chair.  And the back and forth chair rocking stopped.  When it started a few minutes later, Yitzchak explained that banging your feet against the chair is okay, and banging your chair backward is not.  He took a foot, tapped it on the chair, and Shlomo gave up the chair-rocking and started banging his feet alternately on the chair.  Whew.

When his legs get longer, they will no longer touch the table when he bangs.  When they get even longer, they will no longer touch the crossbars of the chair, and it will be known simply as jiggling his foot.  I can’t wait.

I have to admit, though, that I am surprised.  Surprised that we didn’t think of this earlier, and surprised that after so many months of fighting this, all it took was a jiggling foot and a brilliant idea to stop it, no fights involved.  And, of course, I am surprised that I was not the one to think of this brilliant idea.  Because, you know, my ideas are always the best ones, and Yitzchak is always wrong.  (Just kidding . . .)  We are not yet finished with this little saga.  But we are getting there.

After months of fighting, all it took was to encourage foot-banging (which will become foot-jiggling) in order to stop the chair-rocking.  I can’t believe it.  It makes sense, though: Obviously, Shlomo was banging his chair for a reason.  I guess he needed to be moving.  So, telling him to sit still would not work.  Giving him another way to move did.  I guess I hadn’t taught Shlomo that the way to say, “I’m done,” or, “I want attention,”  is to bang the chair backwards.  He just needed to move.  And knowing his parents, I don’t blame him.