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  • jdettmann

Safety First

When your baby starts to crawl, the world changes. All of a sudden, the books and websites tell you, you must get down on your hands and knees, crawl around your home and make a list of all the things that are now Safety Risks. This is harder than you might think, because in addition to seeing the world from the physical perspective of a newly mobile baby, you also have to try to think like them. That is to say, you have to think a bit like an idiot.

Obviously I’m not suggesting that my child, or yours for that matter, is an idiot, just that they do like to do quite a lot of dumb stuff. Unrolling toilet paper. Flicking switches. That sort of thing. Things that run the gamut from foolish but fun to life-threatening. Up to a certain point you can employ the MC Hammer method of baby discipline (You just keep saying ‘No, you can’t touch this’), but that gets tiresome. Then for a while you can employ a degree of sleight of hand, only opening certain drawers and cupboards when the baby’s back is turned. This is still working for us in a few areas, including the sideboard on which the TV sits. May Blossom STILL hasn’t figured out that it has sliding doors that would be really easy to open if she had ever seen us open it and thus realised they aren’t fixed panels. (If anyone reads this to her they will live to regret it.)

When May Blossom started crawling, we moved all the cleaning detergents and brushes and deadly poisons from under the sink into a high cupboard that she won’t be able to reach until she’s twelve. We poked a few power cords under the couch. We made a family trip to the hardware store and bought a dozen or so contraptions to attach to cupboards and drawers, but we haven’t installed any of them. They are beyond us.

We have instead employed an elaborate system of rubber bands, which we loop cunningly over pairs of cupboard and drawer handles, as pictured above. Sometimes this works to keep doors shut, and sometimes it just turns ordinary doors into super-slammy finger traps. Life’s all about taking chances.

Apart from that, there hasn’t been much babyproofing done. We’re like Bundy rum, underproof. Supervision, aka ‘The One-Step-Ahead Method’, is what we’re currently employing, and that is working okay so far. Hanging out the laundry involves a complex dance of May Blossom being plonked in the far corner of the back garden, me running to the clothesline and pegging up clothes as fast as I can while she hares off towards the three steps that lead both to our back door and to a double flight up stairs up to the neighbour’s apartment, which seems to be May Blossom’s Holy Grail. I can get about three items hung up by the time she is four steps up to the neighbour’s. Then I dash over and grab her and haul her joyfully shrieking self back to the far corner of the garden and the dance begins again. A whole basket of laundry can take ten repeats of this.

I think what I need is a very small but extremely heavy ball and chain. Oh wait: I already have one. If only I could strap May Blossom to herself.

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