It seems that both skill and fear are sometimes acquired without intention.
Malachi is afraid of fire. He doesn’t know what fire is, but he’s afraid of it. Let me confuse what I mean: last night, one of the interconnected smoke detectors was letting out it’s low-battery cheerful chirp, as if to say “everything’s fine, but if you must know, my battery is getting low. But still, everything is fine. Really. Chirp.”
While I was replacing the battery in the smoke detector downstairs, Malachi was in his crib, trying again to establish a certain method of escape. While he usually tries to get the crib rail to come down, this time it was messing with the cable jack that he could barely reach from his crib. I imagine he was just touching it when BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP filled the house (no, I’m not censoring — that’s the sound the smoke alarm makes when Daddy hits the “test” button” downstairs). Beep beep indeed. It scared the bowel movements out of him.
He’s crying and shaking. Mom says “it’s just the fire alarm, honey — nothing to worry about”. Classic last words, I know, but the intention was to tell this 2 year old what it is and that it’s a test. Only a test. Of course, he latches on to pieces and remembers the word “fire” with BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP. Now, every time we put him in his crib he points to the cable jack and says “fire?” No, no fire. In fact, there never was. No spark, no fuel, no flame. No fire.
And yet he’s afraid of fire. Or at least the word “fire”. I’d rather him learn to be afraid from an alarm than from actual fire. Will he make the connection? Eventually. None the less, he’s learned to be afraid of something, albeit by accident.
Lexi, on the other hand, knows how to get past even the strongest of barricades. I was cooking in the kitchen (good place for it, I know) and had to make a “wall” out of kitchen chairs. Curious Kids + Hot Stove = social services file. Anyway, I’ve banished them to the living room while I cook and they’re both trying to figure out how to crack this code of chairs, brother and sister working together and creating toddler synergy. Mac is trying to get in by squeezing under and in-between, but with no luck. Lexi, deciding to sit down because this is getting tough, ends up getting her weight on the chair in such a way that it tips backwards, landing on the floor with a BAM and giving her a nice, safe landing.
They’re in the kitchen now. And now that they know how to get through what was once impenetrable, I need to either devise a new barricade. Or just stop cooking.
Besides, when I cook, it sets off the smoke alarms.