The Joys of Baby-Proofing
If I were a good mother, I would never allow my kids to endanger themselves. They’d only breathe purified air, only drink beverages that have been certified to have been boiled, pasteurized, de-bugged and de-infected in every conceivable way, and only live in a world of soft corners and cushions.
If I were a good mother, that is.
But I apparently haven’t been. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have left my one-year-old twins alone in the living room while I went to the bathroom the other day. Granted, it was a quick trip to the loo, but apparently not quick enough.
When I got back in the room, my daughter Abbey was standing atop a chair with no pants on, bouncing up and down while chewing on a curtain cord and threatening to jump over the side onto the hardwood floor. Her brother Jonah was climbing atop his plastic truck preparing to scale the bookcase. But at least he still had his pants on.
When you are a parent of small children in the new millennium, it’s not enough to try to protect your kids by putting those plastic outlet covers all over the electrical outlets. It’s simply not enough to move all the poisons from beneath your cabinets and make sure all your prescription medication has childproof caps. If you go by what I’ve read in parenting magazines and baby product catalogues, you have to not only make your home a fortress, but you can’t leave your kids alone in a room until they are 21, and even then it’s still a crapshoot.
After highlighting several safety-oriented articles, I recently took a big pile of them and went on a safety check around the house looking for hazards.
Hazards were everywhere. I had my notebook at the ready.
“What was I thinking in keeping plastic bags in the house?” I thought when I looked under the sink, behind the double-locked cabinet doors. The kids could easily break these locks, grab a bag, stick their heads inside and suffocate. Despite the fact that I’ve been told if I don’t save these bags I’ll be contributing to landfills, it was either them or the kids.
I quickly made a notation: “Return plastic bags to store. Invest in re-usable cloth bags with happy-faced trees on them.” “And what about those living room windows? How could I have been so reckless?” I hadn’t put bars across them. The kids could climb on the windowsills, push the screens out, fall and break their necks. Despite the fact that we live in a ranch, you can’t be too careful. I dog-eared the page in the baby-proofing catalog for window kits and moved on.
Then there was the television sitting on a television table mounted on wheels. A big no-no. What if my crumb-crunchers teamed up to pull it over on themselves? “No TV,” I wrote. Sure, it might seem like a sacrifice, but didn’t I just read a report from a group of pediatricians saying that television should be banned for kids under two anyway? “No more Teletubbies guys,” I had to tell the toddlers as they fervently clutched their Teletubby dolls. “The TV is too dangerous.”
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