posted in Parenting
Any new parent can tell you: babyproofing is a cinch. It takes maybe an hour to make your home safe for your child. A veteran parent, however, will laugh at that idea, knowing the process essentially never ends.
Every parenting book will tell you how to do it and when to begin safeguarding your outlets, bookcases and family pets. Not only to protect your children, but to keep your furniture — and Fluffy the cat — safe from your kid (seriously, have you seen a toddler yank on a cat’s tail?).
The truth is that it’s not so cut-and-dried. It encompasses more than a simple weekend project and grows and evolves with each new stage of your child’s development. Five stages, in fact.
Stage 1: Rolling over/sitting up
You’ve reached a major developmental milestone, congratulations. If parenthood were a video game you would have just leveled up. Right about now you are looking at your partner and saying, “Ahhhh! Look at us, we’re like real parents now. Hurry, let’s buy all the babyproofing items on Amazon.”
But in reality you don’t use any of those little plastic devices yet. You just move everything to the edge of the room. And accidentally kick your ottoman for the next two weeks until you get used to it being in a new location.
Stage 2: Crawling
Okay, pushing that potted plant over by the window isn’t so helpful now that your baby can actually crawl to the plant. But it’s still okay, no hands can reach inside the plant and grab any dirt.
Instead, your extend your safety perimeter by pushing objects even further away. Your vacuum schedule becomes more frequent and baby gates go up. Around this time you tear apart the house looking for the outlet covers your bought during stage one and plug them in everywhere.
Stage 3: Pulling to stand
Great, now tiny hands can reach the dirt inside that plant. All knickknacks are centered on your coffee table. The bottom two rows on the bookshelf are empty. There is nothing to touch, grab, or pull that can be found within three feet of the floor.
Stage 4: Walking
Sh*t just got real. They can reach doorknobs. You say things like “please don’t play in the garbage.” And my favorite, “get your hands our of the toilet!” We once had a neglected flush caught in the nick of time. Don’t pretend like you’re above it.
You buy a toilet lock that highlights its decoy button. And thank goodness, because your child will try to figure it out and that decoy button will save you. You, however, will struggle endlessly with that toilet lock. Yes, you may pee your pants a few times until you get the hang of it. Keep a spare pair of underwear in the bathroom for such moments.
Every room is redecorated to meet a walking baby’s safety standards. You will stub several more toes running into baby gates. And cabinets won’t be opened for months because you forgot how to work the baby lock, You give up, who needs the crock pot anyway.
Pro tip: always do a sweep of the garbage before you take it out. Toys, clothes, wallets, and phones have been known to end up there.
Stage 5: Climbing
At this point everything in your home looks like a mountain to your child. A mountain they will stop at nothing to surmount. Kitchen chairs and even extra large pillows slowly retreat to the garage for safety reasons. Just remember, it’s actually good for your circulation to eat dinner while standing.
It may sound overwhelming, but there is one benefit: you won’t need to do any of this for your second child. You home will take at least ten years to return to its pre-babyproofing glory (if ever), making it safe and secure for all future kids.
For more of my mom shenanigans follow me on Instagram at Witty Otter.
When did you begin babyproofing your home? How did the process unfold?