Monday, August 22, 2011

The Safety Years

We are in what I like to call, "The Safety Years." Everything is about safety. (You know, injuries.) I've lost the ability to open, close, enter, exit, and and generally use most things in my home without first needing to unlock, unlatch, or ungate something. There is a latch to open and close the oven. There is a gate both at the top and bottom of my stairs. (This is following an incident during which I casually made a salad in the kitchen and entered the living room to find my son not playing with his toys on the floor but playing with his toys on the SECOND floor. Had a heart attack, died, ran up the stairs, grabbed him, and drove to Target to buy a bottom gate.) There are safety latches on most cabinets in the kitchen, sans the ones with knobs close enough together that we can use rubber bands instead. Abraham likes to "play" the rubber bands; a talent I call "Strumming the Cabinet Harp."
Every cord in our house that comes close to the floor is now tied around something tall, like a chair, so that my son can't put them in his mouth. We've already lost two Apple computer chargers to my son's desire to turn them into lollipops. There is a giant, rubber frog head wrapped around the spigots in the bathtubs which is, frankly, pretty disturbing if you know anything about heads and they way they attach to the body.
We have no pictures, table lamps, and no vacation momentos out anymore. Actually, to be clear, we do not set anything on anything. Tables are now for show and not for actual use. My son finds the entertainment center to be just that, which is why we can no longer turn any of the electronics ON in case he tries to push buttons that can never be unpushed in combinations that Bobby Fischer couldn't keep up with. Computers, cell phones, and iPads must only be used in the attic.
Plants must be hung from the ceiling or stored at the top of our closets. The one potted plant that is too large to move has given new meaning to the term "mud pie" on more than one occasion.
We can only load/unload the dishwasher during nap hours. All window shade cords must be tied up high, meaning that we never open/close the window shades anymore. Garbage baskets now reside in closets, cabinets, and sometimes on top of tables. (Oh! I guess we do use the tables.) Toilet covers must be put down, baby wipes must be put up, and no fun can be had out of doors unless someone is permanently holding Abe's hands away from his mouth. We even have a crib tent now in anticipation of the day he figures out he can get out of there without me.
It wasn't until I began writing this blog that I realized just how much of my house is some kind of "proofed" with this child in mind. I always said, "I'm just going to teach my child what he can and cannot touch," which was adorable of me. Because "no" is so effective at this age.
None of this madness happened at once. We didn't wake up one day and think, "We should make everything about our house inconvenient." It was one safety latch at a time until going to the bathroom required a schlage lock, a set of fingerprints, retinal scan, voice confirmation, and a secret knock. So think ahead if you might have to pee while at our house.