Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Babyproofing. Or... not.

Pre-Millie our house was pretty much the most child-unsafe house I think one could imagine. Well, we don't have glass stairs and pointy door handles, or several bags of drugs on the floor next to baby bottles of coca-cola, so I imagine there's possibly worse.
I look at photos of the day before Millie was born and there's a tiny space of coffee table top amongst the magazines, remotes, crochet needles, cups, mugs and steak knives. Now, there's a wooden coaster on the coffee table. That's it.
The good bit about baby-proofing a house is that it doesn't happen immediately. When she first started sitting up we moved a few things. When she stood up, the coffee table got cleaned off, and the first row of CDs in the CD cabinet. Then the second. Then Mr S built some dowel rods to hold the CDs in place.

'This one's crap. Put The Knife on please.'
She promptly pulled the dowel rods out. And waved them around like not-so-tiny swords. But she seems to have forgotten about them for now, thankfully. There's bigger fish to fry, like eating cat food or opening doors.
We've got rubber hands on kitchen cabinet handles, a two handed childproof lock on our under-the-kitchen-sink door handles, door opener stopper things and plastic doovamawackas in our power points. (side note: I have no idea why I'm not employed as a product namer. These companies are missing out on my expermatisenhausen.)
But we are still a bit crap at babyproofing. And by we, I mean me. Mr S is constantly running around saying 'Amy! Scissors on the edge on the table!' 'Amy! You left the cupboard open. Again.' 'Amy! Stop leaving your vodka open on the floor!' (one of these is untrue.)
I don't know why, I think perhaps I'm not mindful enough of what I'm doing at any given time. Because I'm always thinking about the next thing, or when my next cup of coffee is. (Right now, thanks.)
There's a few schools of thought on babyproofing, and Mr S & I probably fall in the middle of a lot of them. Our house is not sterile, and does not have pillows strapped to our TV table like other houses I've seen. Millie's favourite daytime activity is to rearrange our shoes by the front door, occasionally stopping for a taste. Sketchers=yum.
I know, I know. Shoes are dirty. But I've decided that we pick and choose our battles.
Oven=hot. Toilet=dirty. Shoes=better than oven or toilet.
We have no desire to stop our house looking like grown ups live here, or to have our entire house baby proofed with cushions, bubble wrap and packing tape.
At my sister's wedding I watched her mate's little 18 month old run around the reception venue talking to people and having a grand old time. No trouble, no fuss. I was heavily pregnant and asked her mate what it was like having a toddler. (read: OH MY GOD. HOW WILL I HAVE A TODDLER?)
He explained to me that the best thing he thought they did was teach their daughter about what you can and can't touch in your own house, without babyproofing EVERYTHING or letting them have free rein to trash your house. He thought that by doing this it would mean that they could go somewhere else and feel relaxed about their daughter playing in other people's houses. He said it's worked for them. It's a great philosophy and Mr S and I have adapted that to a degree.
Things still get broken and eaten. She dropped a distortion pedal on Mr S' beautiful new guitar a few weeks ago... what a scratch. She ate some family photos. She's tried to eat cat food, tissues, the tv remotes... actually you name it, she's tried.
My lesson for the week is to pay more attention before I leave the room and ask myself 'What would a champion baby-proofer do?'.
Tell me champion baby-proofers - what is your advice for me?


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