It’s Not All Mary Poppins

I think he’s got it!

The fine weather is here! At last! Which means we play outside every afternoon as we await the mommies and daddies. Which means some Serious Lessons to the tots regarding “Street” and “Sidewalk”, the distinctions thereof, and where you May and May Not play.

Serious, persistant, consistent lessons.

“No, honey. That’s the street. We don’t step onto the street. The street is for cars. This is the sidewalk. We play on the sidewalk. The sidewalk is for people.”

Three weeks of diligent effort is paying off. The little ones – Emily, Anna, and Timmy, all about 20 months old – are now aware of the distinction. It may not prevent them from racing out into the street (Emma and I stand ready to prevent sudden surges street-ward), but it does at least make them slow down a bit, and, in Timmy’s case, check for lurking adults, before they step out…

The big ones – Nigel and Malli, two-and-a-half and almost three – are much more reliable. They rarely put a foot into the street.

(Any new readers will be reassured to know that mine is a very quiet, almost dead-end street that sees little traffic. Any car going more than, oh, 20 km per hour will almost certainly set off a full-throttle protest from all the adults watching our children play: “SLOW DOWN!!!” Given that one of the adults is a largish police officer, and from time to time he’s actually in uniform when he’s doing the yelling? It’s a pretty effective traffic-control measure… This is no four-lane highway we play beside.)

The big test came today, though. Nigel was playing with a ball. Balls are notorious for rolling where they oughtn’t. Or where children oughtn’t. We’ve had this lesson, too. If the ball goes into the street, they May Not, Under Any Circumstances, Go After It. Whenever we see a ball land in the street, the lesson is the same. Indeed, the lesson takes precedence over immediate retrieval of the ball. “Your ball is in the street! When your ball goes in the street, you mustn’t ever go after it. Never, ever. You must tell me. When your ball goes in the street, you must tell a grown-up. The grown-up will get your ball.” Over and over and over again.

Nigel was trying to kick said ball, but, in typical 2.5-year-old fashion, he missed. Well, mostly missed. His foot glanced off it with just enough force to send it wobbling vaguely across the sidewalk. It meandered along the edge for a bit, then dropped off the sidewalk and gently, oh, so gently nudged against the curb, where it sat.

Nigel trotted over to the edge of the sidewalk, hunkered down and gazed at his ball. His ball which rested against the curb. The ball which was now touching the toes of his shoes. Touching his toes. He could just reach down and lift it, but…



May 15, 2007 Posted by | health and safety, the cuteness! | 8 Comments