"Sadie Kathleen." I say her name a little bit louder the second time and she freezes, her little hand about to extend to touch the stones on the front of the hearth. She turns and looks at me. "Don't do it. You know we don't touch the hearth." She is still as long as I keep talking, but when my voice trails off after the word "hearth" her hand shoots out again and she turns back towards the stove.
"No. Sadie. Do. Not. Touch. The. Stove." I stand up and she smacks the hearth with her hand and then sits back.
"We're going to have a time out now." Sadie beams at me and submits to the idea of a time out. We sit on the couch while I count to ten. She holds perfectly still, her hands on her feet, until I reach ten and then she straightens her legs and squirms to get down. If someone else was in the room they would be able to tell that this isn't our first time. And most time outs are stove related.
I put Sadie down on the ground and she heads straight back across the room for the stove. "Sadie!" Grumpa comes in the room and his voice booms. Sadie freezes again. She gives us a big smile and then makes a mad dash across the room. I catch her as she reaches out her hand to brush the cold rocks of the hearth. Time out number two.
After seven seconds Sadie is impatient and ready to go. I have the distinct impression that she's planning something, but she's not quite ten months old. Is that even possible? Three seconds later she's released from time out and sits for a moment by my feet. She crawls casually toward her toys, but I see her eyeing the stove. Her books are a few feet away from the stove and she pretends that she's headed in their direction. I have a feeling that this isn't the case, mostly because she keeps glancing over her shoulder at me. I've seen Starr, our horse, with the same look on his face, usually right before he does something that he's not supposed to do.
She inches closer to the stove and stops. Sitting up, perfectly straight, she looks at me. "Sadie. Not the stove." She smiles sweetly. I can almost hear her say: "Try and stop me, Ma." She turns. I give her the benefit of the doubt because one of these days she really is going to listen. She sprints. "Sadie!" She slides to a stop. This is beginning to remind me of the game Red Light, Green Light. "Come over here. Come play with Mommy." But Mommy isn't fun. Mommy is knitting. She stops three more times to check to see if I'm going to stop her before she gets to the hearth. When she reaches the hearth I swoop in. Time out number three.
Sadie had five time outs this evening. There were only five because after the fifth we went in and had dinner and then we went upstairs for bath time. She definitely has a strong will. In fact, some people might even say she's as stubborn as a mule! At least, that's what I was beginning to think this afternoon.