I literally shudder to think of what would've transpired had I let Jonah—not even two yet—have free reign of the house in the middle of the night when my husband and I were sleeping. We're talking about a kid who has eaten garbage from the trash can, who likes to climb into a relatively high bay window and jump off, who thinks it's fun to take the telephone cord on the kitchen phone and wrap it around his neck as "a pretty necklace." Then there are the stairs. Thirteen of 'em. Steep, too. Imagine little Jonah trying to maneuver downstairs to the playroom, in the dark, at 3AM to fetch the Elmo that's down there. While all kids cringe at the words "it's for your own good," that doorknob cover was for the kid's own good health. When you think that trash tastes good, you aren't ready to roam free in the house yet.
About a month later, Jonah's sister Abbey commenced her high diving act. The difference with this kid is that she bruises so easily that it only took a few leaps over the side and onto her head before she looked like Rocky when he lost to Mr. T. Obviously, she too had to be liberated quickly or I'd likely be on the receiving end of some strange looks from neighbors.
What was once my peaceful respite had transformed into a non-stop patrol. I felt like a cop walking a beat only with no lock-up to use to threaten the perps. Every thud or bang sent me flying into their rooms trying to not scream when I saw that Abbey had broken through the child locks on her dresser and pulled her dresser drawers out, spread the contents around the room, and had triumphantly scaled her bureau like Sir Edmund Hillary when he climbed Mt. Everest. Or the time Jonah turned his bookshelf over to use it as a diving board to leap onto the floor.
Abbey had to get her own doorknob cover when she started sneaking out of her room and into Jonah's. I didn't realize anything was wrong—she was smart enough to shut both doors behind her—until I heard some unabashed laughter and muffled voices and found the two in Jonah's bed together. Sure it was cute, but the two never napped if left alone together. They just found even worse things to do to their rooms while Mommy was elsewhere, like deconstruct Abbey's day bed. And if it was nightmarish to imagine Jonah running around the house alone at night, the thought of both kids collaborating in the dark house would be enough to send me into shock. Two doorknob covers was a safety must.
All around me, mothers with kids Abbey and Jonah's age were still enjoying blissful naptimes while their kids were behind bars. A mom with a near three-year-old daughter still had her in a crib. I was desperately envious, not that I have fantasies of being my kids' jailer, but it was a lot easier to get things done when I didn't have to worry about them taking the furniture apart.