When Mercy first became mobile (and able to get into things she shouldn’t), Doug and I developed a strategy. If she would go to touch something, like the T.V. or Doug’s laptop or the fan, we would tell her: “Mercy, just say hi” and we would wave at the object. She would then imitate us and begin waving vigorously at the forbidden thing. This gave her an acceptable way to interact with whatever the appealing item was, and so on any given day Mercy could be found waving at different things in our apartment. It actually still works with her. Over Christmas, we stayed in homes filled to varying degrees with Christmas decorations. For those things that she was not supposed to touch, we simply told her to “just say hi.”
When Aaron became mobile, we used the same strategy. He seemed to have all the same affinities as his sister: the television on button; the shelf of my theology books; the remote control. However, the “just say hi” method has proven to be a little less effective with child number two. Aaron just looks at us while he goes ahead and touches whatever it is we are telling him to “say hi” to. Then, when we end up going over and picking him up to remove him from the object, he turns to us and waves furiously.