Thursday, January 17, 2008
Blanket Training Essie
"Here, Essie, get on the blanket. Look, right here. Stay right here, on this part. See? Isn't this fun with all your toys? No, no, no... come back to your blankie! Essie!"
I'm attempting to blanket-train Esther. Don't know if that's the correct term for it, but the goal is to teach her to stay and play within the boundaries of a blanket for a certain amount of time. Right now we're hoping for about 30 seconds. The goal - and I've seen it done - is that I can toss a blanket on the floor with a few toys and cheerios and she'll stay in one place for half an hour or so. Like a pack-and-play but without a pack-and-play.
My inspiration? Watching Foster, my nephew, years ago as a toddler play contentedly on his little blanket, allowing his mom to go about her business for short periods of time knowing that he was "contained."
My goal? To have Esther playing on her blanket - contentedly - for 30 minute stints before baseball season begins this Spring. Yikes. Makes me break into a cold sweat just thinking about her at University Little League. Exhausting. And besides that, I really enjoy watching my boys practice and play baseball. And if Essie's granted free rein, there will be no watching going on with this little pack of dynamite exploding in every direction. I can see her now... climbing bleachers. Jumping off bleachers. Eating sand. Eating discarded popsicle sticks. Eating cigarettes.
If you're not a fan of spanking (who is, really? A fan?!), please don't ask how the training is enforced. Fortunately the spanking is pretty light for an 18-month-old. I emphasize again, it's blanket training, not blanket discipline. I believe the former prevents the latter. But that's another post for another time.
In response to my declaration of wanting to blanket train Esther, both my mom and Corbin asked, "Isn't she too old for that?" Please, please tell me I haven't missed this window! I always felt too tired to train the other kids, so this is my last shot. And with Esther's colorful, energetic (i.e., hard-to-train) personality, this is perhaps my most necessary shot.
So anyway, yesterday I spent about ten minutes coaching this little one on what it means to stay on her blanket. Let's just say, I hope the 2nd "practice" goes better than the first. Hilarious. She was bright-eyed and excited to have me on the floor with her, excited about this new "game." I set her on the blanket with a ton of toys, and she promptly walked right off.
"No, no, Essie, stay on the blanket. Look here, stay here, stay off the carpet. Don't cross this line."
She'd look at me, look at her feet, look at me, then smirk and take off running.
I'd swing her back to the blanket, laughing, but firm, "Essie, stay right here. On the blanket." Thinking - is she really old enough to learn this? Does she know what I'm asking of her? Duh. If she can answer "teee!" to my "One, two..." then she can surely understand "stay on the blanket." That girl knows every word that comes out of my mouth. But still, I kept questioning her comprehension, especially when she'd dart off the blanket as soon as her feet hit the floor.
Other times she'd lay down, rolling from her back to her tummy, and let her legs dangle off the blanket. She'd grin at me, waiting to see if this offense was worthy of a response. Um, yes.
"Esther, get on the blankie."
Roll her back onto the blanket, she rolls her legs off. That grin again.
Such a picture of me with God. The entire ten minutes I felt His whisper, "See, wouldn't it be easier if she just obeyed? I feel the same way about you. Her obedience won't make you love her more, but it sure would be endearing!"
Often the Lord prompts me to do something, and I simply brush Him off. I tell myself I'll get around to that phone call or visit later. Many times I've realized the lost opportunity, and I feel deflated to have missed out on His work.
Other times He asks me (clearly) to give something up (something ridiculous, I tell you), and I defiantly look up and smirk, partly grinning, hoping I can get away with ignoring His request. Afterall, the Lord has bigger things to worry about than my piddly disobedience. There are wars going on, for Heaven's sake, murders and humongous sinning all around the world. Why would God care about my teeny, no-on-else-will-ever-know sins?
I guess they're not so teeny to Him.
And I'm learning, too, I'm not the only one affected by my disobedience.
Ugh, I don't want to be pruned.
Lord, please give me the self-control to obey!
And please, please give little Esther a love for that blankie so we can all enjoy baseball season!