Monday, March 3, 2014

Open doors

In January, just after our vacation and turning 6 years old, Cédric learnt to open doors.

He's been able to open the longue ones that just tilt for a long time, but until now he did not know how or was not capable of turning the round ones. And by chance, when we built the house 7 years ago, we chose all round door handles.
In January, with no effort on our part, Cédric just found the trick and opened the bathroom door. We figured it might be luck, almost an accident, especially considering there was a child security protection on it, which makes it harder to turn. But in the following days, he kept opening doors, with or without the child proof handle. It is now an acquired skill that he uses daily.

As far as development goes, it's an achievement! He learnt to do something useful in everyday life. Not only that, but he learnt it on his own, without help or example, which shows a certain amount of problem solving and perseverance. It's a motor skill that required coordination (he usually uses both hands). Any progress is a victory and we are very proud of him.

On a symbolic level, it's also quite significant. It opens doors for him!! Literally :D


I must admit it's a skill we were specifically avoiding teaching him because it has important consequences.
Now that Cédric can open doors, we have to always have ears and eyes on alert to make sure he doesn't do something bad, or put himself in danger.
He could go in our room and play with his Dad's iPad or my Kobo, or find my jewelry. He could go in the bathroom and get wet in the tub or the toilet. He could go in the rooms where I put all the things I don't have time to actually put away or don't know where to place and make a real mess of my organized mess...
But more importantly, he could burn himself with water in the bathroom, hurt himself with tools in the storage under the stairs or even get out of the house and escape! After all, even though he's never done it, the handle on the front door is round too.
So our alert level has gone up, and the amount of necessary interventions to keep Cédric sage and our house in a reasonable state has increased a lot. In other words, we're more stressed out and we have less rest time!
But the worst is at night!! Cédric has been having sleep problems for a long time and he regularly gets up at night at various times (for a long time it was around 2 or 3 am, lately more around 4 or 5 am). Before, the big advantage was that he was "stuck" in his room. Not knowing how to open doors, he stayed in his room and played on his bed, in his tent, and with his books. We were able to stay in bed, knowing he was safe, and even if it wasn't great sleep, it was physical rest. Now that Cédric can open his door, the second he wakes up I'm on alert, waiting for the telltale sound that tells me that Cédric is out and that I have to get up as fast as possible and go take care of him. When he gets out of his room at night, he's really in danger: fall in the stairs, eat something he shouldn't, hurt himself, or even open the front door and get out. Yes, we have an alarm; yes, he would have to open the lock first; yes, he usually goes to his red chair. But Dave has once before found him in the entrance, at the front door, trying to open it!
So since January, night waking has taken a new magnitude.

Goes to show, everything is double-edged...

I'm still happy Cédric is making progress and shows us he's capable of learning. I just would have preferred he did it by potty training himself all at once (go re-read my post about poop and draw your own conclusions as to what the potty training that is underway and the wearing of underwear rather than diapers has done to our daily life!!).

I won't leave on a shitty note (;)), I will say that as always, Cédric is an agent of change in our lives and prevents us from settling in a boring routine. I'm on my way to clean up the spare bedroom I have used as storage for random things. It was supposed to be his playroom upstairs and I just let it get out of hand, get very messy, and become inaccessible to him. But since last week, every day, multiple times a day, he uses his magical new skill to go in there anyways and I have promised him and myself that it would be his playroom before March break (next week...)!