A few weeks ago when I went to the first of my many dentist appointments this month, my mom watched Ben. I had to leave before he woke from his morning nap, so I was afraid he might freak out when he discovered I wasn't there. However, Mom said he was fine and even smiled at her. For some reason she's always surprised that he likes her, despite the fact that she lavishes attention and presents on him.
After lunch they were playing in the living room and smarty pants Ben decided he would test some boundaries. We don't allow him to touch the fireplace*, but Mom didn't know that. So he approached and started banging on it. Then every few seconds he would stop and look at her, to check her reaction. When he wasn't reprimanded he would bang away in joy. Mom said when he looked back at her he had a twinkle in his eye, because he knew he was getting away with something. I suppose that was his first lesson in how to manipulate his grandparents. Step 1: Be cute. Step 3: Profit!
However, Mommy and Daddy aren't so easily persuaded. The fireplace rule persists, but that doesn't stop Ben from testing it. He knows his hands are off limits, but what about toys? Can he bang toys on the fireplace? Nope, apparently not. How about a ladle? Okay, no. A stuffed animal? Wow, still no? How about if I lick it, is that okay? No? Come on! You guys are total fascists!
Heath delights in Ben's creativity and craftiness and I have to admit it is amusing. He's already applying the scientific method to his life. One day he will crack the code of the fireplace!
*It's a gas fireplace which is totally enclosed, so he couldn't actually hurt himself on it, but we don't want him in the habit of playing with fireplaces.