April 27, 2015 Leave a comment
Lydia is eleven months old. Yesterday, we spent some time enjoying the beautiful spring weather in our small front yard. Lydia studied the flowers. She picked up dead leaves (functioning as mulch) and examined their lacy skeletons. She gleefully wiggled her arms amid the arching green leaves of the daylilies coming up between our sidewalk and the neighbors’, and she pulled on some leaves to assess their strength and find the tearing point.
She also spent lots of time sitting or crawling on the sidewalk in front of our yard, soaking up sunshine, saying, “Hi!” to all passersby. She toddled along next to our neighbors’ retaining wall, which is just the right height to lean her hands on. Then she ventured across the sidewalk, looked over the curb, and began to reach for an interesting pebble in the gutter.
I said, “No!” and pulled her back. She looked surprised. But just then–perfect timing!–a car came rumbling along our brick-paved street. “Stay out of the street. The street is for cars,” I told her. I pointed to the passing vehicle. “Cars are big and fast. We stay out of their way.” She leaned over the curb again. “No, the street is not for you. The street is for cars. The sidewalk is for people. Stay on the sidewalk.”
I’m going to have to repeat this lesson a zillion times before she really understands–so let’s get started! It’s complicated: The street is for cars, but when people get into cars we have to step into the street to get there. The street is for cars, but people can walk across streets, following safety rules. Lydia will have to learn that she can’t go into the street alone but can go with a taller person. I know how to explain that. But for now, I started with the lesson relevant to the present situation: Play on the sidewalk, not in the street. A few repetitions did the trick for yesterday. We’ll tell her again next time she approaches the curb. Read more of this post