Things have been a bit... busy, yeah that's the word I was looking for, at my house lately. My grandsons, aged 2 1/2 and 11 months have been spending a lot of time there.
When you say the words "two year old", people get a slightly alarmed, glazed look in their eyes and suddenly look a bit tired and frazzled as they contemplate the very idea of keeping up with one. When they learn that the two year old I am talking about has a little brother on the verge of toddlerhood, well, enough said.
Little Brother has been busily working on mastering the art of not only walking but climbing stairs. In fact, as much as he likes moving from one end of a room to the other with the aid of furniture that was apparently placed there by some thoughtful big person for that purpose, his true love is climbing.
He attempts to climb up on sofas, chairs, end tables, coffee tables, toys, people, etc. In other words, he is not particular. If something is in front of him, he won't go around it, he will attempt to climb it.
While he is not too particular, his favorite thing to climb is the staircase. I am very glad I have a thickly-carpeted split staircase.
When his daddy was his age, we had a steep set of stairs leading into the basement. You know the type. While they did have side rails, that was all they had. Knowing that it would be too easy for a little one to slip through the side and land on the concrete floor far below, we kept the basement door latched at all times. He would have to perfect his stair climbling skills on safer steps, like the front steps.
The stairs at his house are like that and his Mommy and Daddy have wisely done the same. They are simply too dangerous for little boys to go up and down all by themselves.
Things are different at Grandma's House. You see, when he and his brother come here, I am able to devote 100% of my attention to them. I could install a gate to keep him off the stairs but I have a better idea. After he has climbed a couple of steps, I sit down on the steps, position my hands so I can catch him if he slips and encourage... yes... encourage him to climb.
He has not yet mastered stairs but with practice, he is getting there. Yes, he has had a few tumbles and scares but Grandma or Grandpa have always been there to catch him before he goes too far. They give him a hug, wipe away any tears and tell him he is doing a good job and to keep on trying.
Do you know what? The next thing I know, he back at it once again. He is one determined little fellow who isn't going to let any setbacks stop him.
It would be easier (and quicker) for us to simply carry him up and down the stairs but do you know what? He wouldn't learn how to do it. There was a time when we would have never thought of having him climb the stairs by himself but as he has grown older and stronger, as his gross muscle skills have developed, our expectations have changed. In fact, it is something all parents (and grandparents) must do for their child's own good. They must not only teach them how, they must allow them to put that knowledge into practice.
There are things we cannot do. We are neither smart enough, strong enough or capable enough to do them so God does those things for us. There are other things we can learn to do so in addition to teaching us, God steps back and allows us to put what He has taught us into practice.
For example, we can ask God to provide our needs and He will but that doesn't mean we are exempt from doing anything ourselves. Perhaps that provision is going to come through the means of us sending out resumes and applying for a new job. Perhaps it means we put forth extra effort at work and get a promotion. Perhaps it means creating a budget and watching our spending habits more carefully.
We can ask God to deliver us from temptation and He will but that also means we have to actually attempt to resist it. That might mean there are places we can't go, people we need to stay away from, situations we should avoid, getting an accountability partner, etc.
God wants us to grow. He wants us to not only learn to turn over but to creep, crawl, stand, walk and run. He will help us and guide us, He will stand by us but there are steps that we must take on our own.
He took a few steps by himself towards me as well as his other Grandma on the 14th. That was six days ago. That was a trial run, we guess. :) Now we must continue to be patient and continue to encourage him. We can't speed up the process for this is something he can only do on his own. But in due season...