Yesterday, after spanking my older child for taking the dirt out of the aloe plant… again, I actually asked my husband if he thought Eleanor was retarded. Why won’t she learn? Why, when she knows it will make a mess, when she knows it will get her a spanking, when she has been told and punished a dozen time, why?
I’ve seen her learn and fast, too. It’s a true running joke among parents of toddlers that “If you say %&*@! when you get cut off in traffic, the little one will say %&*@! to the pastor on Sunday.” Eleanor has been watching several Peanuts Specials. Her favorites are It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, and It’s Christmas Charlie Brown. She will say – out of the blue – Frieda’s famous line (with a toddler accent) “Dere’s too much dust. Id’s takin’ da cerwl out aw my nat-tur-al-lee cerwlee hair!”
Too cute. I’m pleased that she is smart in this film line memorization / language area, cause, hey, we are a family that lives well off of bar trivia. But how do we apply her brain power to learning good behavior or to at least against being a plant Kevorkian?
At the moment, I’m thinking distraction is working best for me. For instance, she kept getting into the dining room fire place. We don’t use that hearth, but it’s filled with these super tempting little black lava rocks. I guess they are supposed to reflect heat or something, but mostly they just get Eleanor in trouble. For some reason, she has been way attracted to rocks lately: stones in the garden bed at the church, rocks in various parking lots, pebbles in the bonsai pot at the pool. She just loves to get her little clutches on some hard mineral fun. ANYWAY, as you can guess, I don’t want her in the fireplace foraging for stones. She climbs up there, I yell. Repeat. And once more with feeling. Finally, my friend Bambi, who was visiting last night, says to me, “Hey, we should get her a bunch of rocks of her own, perhaps some tumbled stones or something.”
And, where ever you are, I bet you heard the light bulb go off over my head. It sounded a bit like a twig cracking….
Not 10 feet from where I was sitting, I had a box of polished rocks my Uncle Paul sent me years ago as a college graduation present (and, yes, the irony of that gift is not lost on me…) . Uncle Paul has a hobby that I call making square things round. It’s really a stone cutting hobby, as he cuts and polishes geodes and other things, too. Basically, he buys chunks of interesting rocks (semi precious stones, fossilized stuff and so on) and makes these beautiful spheres out of them. I think they are the coolest thing EVER. The making of these spheres leave a stash of chips and chunks (some of which he tumbled and sent to me, which I also love.) I had a few dozen rocks left in the box (as I’ve used them for various projects over the years) and I hopped up and gave them to Eleanor.
She was in HEAVEN.
She walked around with them.
She transferred them one by one to her favorite buckets.
She counted them.
She showed them ALL to Bambi.
She poured them on the floor.
She picked them all up.
She wanted to take them to bed….
Needless to say, the first thing she did this morning was haul her little bucket out to the living room. I told her she could take 5 of them in her purse to church, she managed to get 6 there. Cleaver girl. As the nursery attendant was not there this morning, Elly sat in the pew with me and played with her bag of rocks. (…not as quietly as I hoped.)
After church, we went to the grocery store. Here she said, ala Charlie Brown and the gang, “Twick or Tweet! (gasp) I gowd a pop-kown ball! (sigh) I gowd a wock. ”
Smart kid. Smart as a box of rocks.