Wednesday, November 4, 2009

saved by the blanket

dear emily,

i performed many crazy experiments on my children. they suffered through my extreme health craze, no TV phase (for three or four years), and fanatical 'no santa' syndrome. i feel embarrassed about some of them, but am the most mystified by the blanket trick, because i only know of one other person who ever taught this to their toddlers.

there were many older women who gave me excellent child-rearing advice, but one surpassed them all. she taught me that you can spend all your time running around cleaning up messes and saving your kids from dangerous situations. but it is wiser to put that time to good use by training them to do little german shepherds! jk

she said that if i were to train my little puppies to sit on a blanket with special toys and books for a couple of minutes a day, they would become accustomed to it. then i would be able to take them anywhere, and they would feel safe with their blanket and not be so fidgety.

basically they could learn 'to stay' on the blanket.

yeah, right.

being the maniacal mother that i was, i tried it. i bought the most colorful,
soft blanket i could find and four or five new toys. then, i sat down beside
my toddler and said that we could only play with those special toys while
we sat on that blanket. after two or three minutes, i picked up the toys
and blanket and told him we could play with them again the next day.

that was the hard part, because he really liked those new toys! but
toddlers, like puppies, are easily distracted. i re-enacted this little
routine everyday, increasing the time to about fifteen minutes, until he
even sat by himself. if he got up off the blanket, i simply withdrew the
toys for the next day.  (pavlov's bell) :)

i kid you not, in a week's time, i would say, "max, play on the blanket with
your toys," and he did it! hans and i could take any of our five kiddos
anywhere, with that blanket, and they were happy as clams....for ten or
fifteen minutes. honestly, ten or fifteen minutes of peace was worth the
hours of training! when the children were older, three or four, i did not
subject them to the indignity of blanket sitting. this was just a toddler tool.

i would wait until the 'witching hour', fifteen minutes before hans came
home when the children were bored to tears with me, to pull out the
blanket. then i could breathe a big sigh of relief, because i knew the
ultimate 'blanket' was about to walk in the door.

can't think of a single scripture for this...umm, gideon, i think, put out a
blanket as a fleece before the Lord about a battle...judges 6:36-39