So here's my latest linguistic lunch. When I was pregnant, I heard about a form of parenting in which parents do not baby-proof because doing so avoids the opportunity to teach and discipline their child. Baby-proofing simply keeps things off limits and unattainable so that Baby doesn't hurt herself (you know, by eating ant traps or licking electrical outlets - more on that later) or destroy precious things (like computers that make a really fun noise when pulled to the ground). Instead, this particular parenting strategy advises not to baby-proof, but to train your child to know what she should and shouldn't play with. Brilliant! I thought. I'll save so much money by not buying the gear, plus I won't have those hideous bulky things on the toilets and doors, etc. Ahh, the ignorance of the childless.
The strategy worked for a couple months. You know, the months when Baby Girl was a mere (cute) blob on the living room rug. Once that blob sprouted arms and legs in place of her floppy appendages, it was a whole new ball game.
|blobs can't do this|
First of all, she's much faster than you think. No sooner do I walk to the washing machine to start a load of diapers, do I hear her banging on the trash can in the bathroom - despite the fact that I left her playing safely in her room. And by "playing," I mean re-organizing her bookshelf. And by "re-organizing," I mean throwing all the books in a heap on the floor.
|good thing her mommy likes to re-organize|
|see? PROOF that shes' soooo big!|
Third of all, she seems to have an unnatural curiosity toward things that might fry her brains. Like when I turned my back for oh, 6 seconds, only to swing around again when I heard the sound, "Ah-ah-ah." Hmmm, what's that sound? Oh, nothing. Just my child LICKING THE ELECTRICAL OUTLET. Seriously. Hands on either side of the outlet, tongue out. Question: What's more dangerous than sticking a body part in an electrical outlet? Answer: Sticking a WET body part in an electrical outlet. Good thing I had my box of baby-proofing safety gear sitting helpfully unopened on the table. Right.
I tried distraction. No good. She would much rather play with the empty grocery bag with all of its choking, strangling and suffocating potential than the nice, safe sock monkey.
I tried scolding. Too bad she thinks, "No, Lila!" is our new fun game.
I tried re-directing. Also a fun game. I can see the ticker-tape across her little brain, "When I crawl over here, Mama chases me and picks me up. FUN!" Now she even stops halfway to her destination to turn around and grin at me.
I tried physical force (as in holding her down on the changing table when she tries to wiggle her little body into a dare-devilish dive onto the floor). Turns out she's pretty strong.
Yeah, disciplining can come later. I'm opting for keeping my child alive. Next time you're over, check out our new "decorations." Anyone have any ideas for making child-proof stuff look less blah?