Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tomato Staking, Part 1

I have been using the techniques in Raising Godly Tomatoes, by L. Elizabeth Krueger.  Well, Oliver knows what to expect now.  He knows that when I tell him to do something, he gets a tap on the bottom if he doesn't do it right away, and will keep getting nothing but a tap on the bottom until he obeys.  I have been working on "Come to Mama," and "Get your drink," both of which he knows how to do... but doesn't always want to do if he doesn't see the point.  I'm not trying to get him to do really hard things, I'm just making sure that he will obey when I give him instructions.  He has been doing well, but still has his struggles (don't we all!).

Oliver has come to love hugs and snuggles -- I thought he "wasn't a snuggler," but it turns out that he is just really strong-willed and didn't want anyone else to be in control of his time!  He doesn't like to sit still for long, so I have been working with him on sitting on my lap calmly for longer periods of time.  We're up to about 10 minutes now with no squirming!  Yippee!!  I might be able to go to Park Day with my homeschool group in the future if he learns to do this.  He wears me out otherwise, and I refuse to chase him all over the gym or the park with a hurt foot (It's getting better!  It doesn't hurt to put pressure on the blister now, it just feels like I am stepping on a big caterpillar when I walk.). 

Okay, so here is why I need prayers.  Our current issue, for the past week, is that he has learned how to climb on top of the coffee table and the dining room chairs.  He climbs up on a regular basis, and I tell him to get down, and he just sits there and stares at me.  He knows what "get down" means, but I thought he was refusing to do it, so I have been swatting him (my swats don't hurt, but he knows they mean that he is doing something wrong) when he doesn't obey.  Yesterday, I finally figured out that he can't get down by himself.  He needs me to turn him around onto his belly, and he can wiggle off of the table from there.  But he KEEPS CLIMBING UP!!! 

So this morning, I am trying a new tactic.  He climbed up on the dining room chair as soon as his feet hit the floor.  I was in the kitchen making coffee, and he started calling, "Mom!"  "Mama!"  "Maaaaama!"  "Mooom!"  and I walked over to him and there he stood, on the chair, waiting for the swat that he thought was coming, waiting for me to help him down, because I have always had to help him down in the past.  Hmmmm.....

Can you guess what is coming?

I decided to leave him up there.  "Get down," I said, and left the room.  He started crying and quickly flipped over on his belly and backed off of the chair.  He bonked his ribs on his way down, and that hurt a bit, but he was down really quickly, and he hasn't climbed back up... on the chair. 

He was a busy bee this morning, and learned how to open the gate if it isn't locked.  We have gotten lazy and have stopped making sure we push the gate latch down until it clicks to say that it is locked.  Oliver hadn't figured out that he could open it... until now.  He opened it about 3 times in 30 minutes, then I wised up and figured out what was going on. 

So he moved on.  He climbed up on the big black speaker in between the TV cabinet and the shelves in the living room.  Now he is stuck.  The speak is smaller than the chair, and he doesn't think he has room to flip over onto his belly.  He has been up there for about 20 or 30 minutes, and is desperate to get down.  It is not very high, and he could turn around and wiggle down with no injury, but it is a small space, and he doesn't think he can do it.  I am letting him stay up there, with no swats, just little gentle reminders to "Get down, Oliver." 

I had parked myself on the couch, watching him to make sure that he didn't pull all of the books off the shelves (a favorite thing to do while he is on the speaker -- can you tell he has done this before?).  But there he sat, happy as a clam, patting the shelves, patting the speaker, jabbering his baby-talk to me as I sat there talking back to him.  Hmmm.... 

I am now sitting at the dining room table, where he can't see me very well, and Griffin and Sammy have come downstairs and are eating their breakfast.  They feel sorry for him and want to help him down, but I'm standing firm. 

So, pray for me to have patience and not back down... and for Oliver to get down soon!

Update: I did help him down.  Mike came upstairs from working and suggested that maybe he really couldn't get down, so I went to him, and he climbed me like a tree in his effort to get off of that speaker.  He knows, though, that next time he climbs up he can expect to have a lengthy, lonely stay on the top of the speaker.  He is avoiding it like the plague now.  We'll see how long that lasts!  :)   

Second Update: He climbed up there first thing the next morning, and I left him there again.  Short memory, I guess.  He stayed there crying for 20 minutes, and I had resolved to leave him there for 30 minutes and then get him down, since he truly believed he could not get down.  Sammy came into the room and, not knowing what was going on, helped Oliver off the speaker.  And he hasn't been back up there since!  Yippee!!  He learned his lesson!

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