So Chris and the kids met me at my parents house in Elgin today for my father's birthday. Apparently I walked in just as H was finishing an extended time out for going AWOL, but as far as I was concerned, it was a great day at my folks. This was his first TO since I started back to work so it was kind of a milestone in that Chris was able to administer discipline effectively by herself.
Meanwhile, I've kind of resigned myself to the fact that our children (unlike all the others out there) feel the need to learn things the hard way. A week ago, H was *convinced* that wearing mommy's winter gloves would help his hands not hurt as much on the playground. We told him, "No Gloves. Gloves for cold, not park." etc... etc... etc... Then the next day, like a gift from heaven, some gloves miraculously showed up in the car as we got to the park. After a brief discussion of whether or not we should reward the "oh lookie here, I gotz gloves" behavior, we decided, Fine wear the freaking gloves. Needless to say, after sliding off the monkey bars twice, he handed the gloves back to me with the obligatory, "Why would you ever think I'd want these?" look.
So today's lesson in gravity happened because H likes to take my parents hoseless hose caddy and give Y rides around the house. They were told to stay in the backyard. So after one lap, he started to push her around to the front and Chris reminded them of the mandate. So they did a U-turn and went around the other side of the house to the front instead. What *I* saw was my son return the caddy to it's proper place and then ask to play with something else more exciting (i.e. the weed wacker.) What I didn't see or hear was his sister crying at the front door with two bloody elbows. Yes, sidewalks are significantly harder than grass. I can run some numbers for you if you like, but really you could have just asked.
I'm afraid there will be a hard lesson about the slipperiness of water at some point too. H loves to play in the tub and even stood on the edge in a superman pose after his last bath. Cast iron has some very similar properties to sidewalks, but I don't think he's made that connection yet.
All the words for 'danger' or 'caution' or even 'careful' in Amharic are unpronounceable. So we've resorted to gesturing wildly, sound effects and then the inevitable head cock, eyes closed, tongue out to symbolize death and destruction. In general they then get it and are respectful of the situation from then on, but the trick is catching these things far enough in advance to act out the worst case scenario. They will usually mimic it back to us, which then is totally amusing and softens the tone while still getting the message across. If you haven't seen a child pantomiming what could happen if you approach an angry raccoon, (not that they've even seen one yet) I highly recommend it. Maybe we'll get that on video next time...