Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Secret Lives of Toddlers: The Elevator Button

Just in case you aren't on the "toddler inside," I thought I'd share some of the little rituals toddlers have in their day-to-day lives that I think are hilarious and cute. One post at a time, though...

If you live in the suburbs or in the country, this ritual probably doesn't impact your kids very often, but I guarantee that they will fall right into it the second you take a day trip to the city.  I simply call this ritual "the elevator button."  You see, we live in an apartment.  While we'd love to take the stairs, 99% of the time we can't because:

- We have the stroller
- We have two kids and have to hold one
- The edges of the concrete stairs seem dangerous with rubber boots

Etc, etc.  And so, we are left using the elevator.  The BEST part of using an elevator (to a toddler) is being able to push the elevator button.  There are a few opportunities for this:

1.  When calling the elevator
2.  When inside the elevator

If I'm having trouble getting Aias (or any other child) out of the apartment, I can often find success simply by reminding them that when they exit, they can be the one to push the elevator button.  For some reason this is an amazing thing to a child.  It could be the level of responsibility, the way the button lights up when you push it, or just the simple fact that pushing a button of any kind seems to give human beings great pleasure.

This can, of course, lead to some conflict.  First, sometimes the child will want to push BOTH the up and down button when calling the elevator, OR they will want to push ALL the buttons once they get inside the elevator. Worse yet, the LOWEST button in any elevator seems to be the emergency button (it's also an appealing red colour most of the time) and kids seem to lunge for this at any chance they get. 

Worse yet... if you have TWO children with you, the competition can get pretty fierce as to which child will get to push the button. I've literally seen a child push down and climb over another child just so they could get to the button first.  Sometimes a child is so upset that the other child got to the button first, you'll need to wait until the elevator arrives, the light on the button turns off, and then you have to let the second child have their turn pushing it.

Even if your child has never seen an elevator in their young life, I promise you that the second they do, they will fall into this ritual as if they've been operating elevators their entire lives.

Finally, I should mention that the worst sin you can commit is to think that YOU, as an adult, have any right to push that elevator button yourself. Trust me, you don't.  While it seems natural to reach out and push the button yourself, no doubt a force of habit that you've developed, if you make the mistake of pushing it  without at least OFFERING it to a toddler first, you may find yourself dealing with a seriously angry reaction. 
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