Posted by Duff

When your kid starts crawling, and then walking, people tell you that’s when the real fun begins. It’s an adjustment, no doubt. You put your kid down somewhere, turn your head — kid no longer there.

Then they turn two and up the ante.

I had been warned about some of the following, but definitely not all. And I am not under any delusion that my kid is super-clever or that she’s Mensa material. She just pays attention, like your kid does. They all know how to do these things before they can actually do them. Total ticking time bomb. Here is some of what I’ve learned the hard way:

Freedom is paramount. They watch every time you open and close the doors, key in, turn, or slide locks. I know someone who was arrested when her child escaped the house several times unbeknownst to her. And, she’s a good mom. Some kids sleepwalk. Or suddenly put their new skills to use once you count on them staying put.  Seasoned parents recommend installing a deadbolt or similar as high up as possible. You might also consider hanging a bell on the doorknob to your child’s bedroom. Because some kids learn how to move chairs to access those extra locks.  Which brings me to the next one:

Kids are motivated to reach higher ground. Even if you don’t have a Climber, you might have a Mover. I, as luck would have it, have both in one. And something that Climber/Mover wants, like cookies, or even medicine because it tastes so darn good nowadays, can be reached with a moved chair and enough stacking and sheer will.  You can remove chairs from your home (a mother of twins recommends bungeeing them together, and that can help), but The Highly Motivated Child will find a way, regardless. I’ve seen it happen. Which brings me to my next point:

Don’t rely on childproof caps. The Dervish recently learned “squeeze”. I wish that hadn’t happened so soon. She also computed the facial expression associated with a tough squeeze, probably when watching me struggle with the same childproof cap to give her teething relief. And somehow learned to put ‘oomph’ behind squeezes, not just the grimace. Add observation, a knack for uncapping sippies, and her ability to move heavy furniture, and she accessed Motrin on a high shelf and unscrewed the cap while one of her parents, who shall remain nameless, cooked dinner a few feet away. Henceforth, always put medicines away in a locked cabinet. Girlfriend might need an intervention. We are not the helicopter parents we are accused of being, it seems.

Don’t rely on shopping cart belt straps. If your kid can strap himself into his highchair, he can probably unstrap himself, too, right? (If he can’t today, he will tomorrow). In the nine seconds I perused paint chips at (home improvement store of choice), the Dervish unhooked herself from the racecar shopping cart belt and was hanging over the side of the cart in her quest to find her Daddy.

Your two-year-old may know how to start your car. It blew my mind, but it’s possible. The Dervish likes to sit in the driver’s seat (when the car is off). She likes to hold the keys. Fine. She was being supervised very closely when she suddenly chose the correct key from a ring of four, inserted it into the ignition, and presto. (She did ask for help putting the seatbelt on before starting the car, so there is a positive here). Obviously, this game is over for about 14 years.

Your two-year-old can successfully fake you out. You’re probably all brighter than I am, and I’m happy for you. But on more than one occasion lately, the Dervish has staged a distraction to gain access to the basement stairs, the front door, and the street. I can’t offer much advice on how to deflect this one, because apparently, I’m not smarter than a two-year-old.

Lying is next. I can hardly wait.

*Please don’t report me. I couldn’t be more in the Dervish’s grill if I tried. And she won’t let me be any less than I am, I assure you. And if I’m incarcerated, I won’t be able to blog for you any longer.

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