Thursday, June 14, 2007

Babyproofing Saga

When my son started rolling over on his own, I knew it was the beginning of the end for us. No longer could we know that he'd be where we left him. Not to say that we leave him, but there's something watching his budding mobility that makes me uneasy. So, we obviously must babyproof. We've done a few small things (e.g., outlet covers), but the bigger things are more challenging.

There's a great company in the area called Family First. For a reasonable fee, they'll come out and inspect your home for child safety and give you a list of the things you should secure. You can avoid the fee all together if you have them install a minimum of $150 at the time of the visit. We had someone come out and it was really educational, though we haven't yet followed through with everything on the list.

More recently, his crawling expeditions have lead him to the volume control knob. So we found Hastings Plastics, a store nearby that cuts plastic to specifications. They cut me a 45"x14" piece of plexiglass, sanded down the edges & corners, and drilled holes in it for a total of $22. I took it home and hooked it onto the table with the cable ties, and the power struggle has ended...for now.

Speaking of babyproofing, I would be remiss if I didn't mention David Keeps' LA Times article The Kids are Alright where he interviews parents who are unwilling to sacrifice style in order to turn their home into a playhouse for junior.

Some parents compare the safety gadgets, or lack thereof, from their childhood and point out that they simply had to learn limits. "Back then, Capobianco recalls, the bowl of hazelnuts and a heavy metal nutcracker in her childhood family room were not considered a choking hazard or a broken finger waiting to happen." I might go one step further and ask how kids of parents who can't afford the plethora of safety gadgets survive today. I'm guessing just fine.

Andrew Baseman, the set decorator of the film "The Nanny Diaries" (how appropriate), commented that "All the Alexanders and Ashleys who stay up until 11 o'clock and are allowed to draw on the walls because their parents put up vinyl wallpaper are going to end up in therapy because they don't know what's appropriate."

We want to give our son the opportunity to learn and explore without feeling that we're endangering him, but we also feel that kids are much smarter than some adults give them credit for. As he matures, he understands and communicates more and more. In turn, we want to communicate with him more instead of treating him like a wild puppy.