Tuesday, August 14, 2007

danger, danger, everywhere

When I was pregnant, I wandered around with long lists of everything that needed to get done before the baby arrived. There were purchases to be made, and people to contact, and electrical outlets to baby proof, and rooms to paint. At the time, people kept insisting that I'd have LOADS of time to get everything done after the baby was born. I'd have so much free time that I wouldn't know what to do with, and in that free time, I'd totally want to traipse off to furniture shops and crawl around on my hands and knees and screw in new non-electrocuting outlets. Apparently, those people's experiences with a baby was really different from my experience with a baby, because I didn't have much in the way of free time. Still don't, actually. Fortunately, I didn't listen to them, for the most part, and I insisted on getting Gabe's bedroom ready and we bought the electrical outlets and Josh changed them, and I bought cushioned covers for the coffee tables and toys for when he got a bit older.

Unfortunately, I did listen to those people a little bit, so instead of following my gut and picking up what I thought I might need in one visit to super baby store, I figured that I'd have time later. But what no one tells you, is that one day you wake up and your completely non-mobile baby is chasing the dogs around the room. The next day, that same baby notices the DVD player and the VCR and shoves his fingers inside of them over and over and OVER. The day after that, in the time it takes you to pee, he is 3 rooms across the house and playing with the dogs' food and water. It's all shocking and fabulous, and on the one hand, you are terribly proud, and on the other, you think "holy shit! What happened to my baby?"

Now it has been a week, and I find myself wondering how you keep your babies safe. How do you keep them alive? How do you make sure they don't pitch face first into the edge of the steps, or down the basement stairs, or electrocuted because they are chewing on the cords of the breast pump?

I watch Gabe like a hawk all day long. I rarely leave him alone, except maybe to jet to the bathroom for 30 seconds or less, or pour myself a cup of coffee while sprinting through the kitchen, but I swear that he finds trouble somehow. The other day he smacked his eye against the edge of the wall while crawling around, then today he was crawling around the kitchen and pushed on the door to the basement that was closed but apparently not fully latched and in that instant I imagined him tumbling down the stairs to the basement (even though I grabbed him before he was able to get close to the edge), then today at the park he was trying to poke himself in the eye with a stick, and I can keep going, but I'm scaring myself.

So seriously, how do you keep them safe? How obsessive do you have to be? I'm off to super baby store tomorrow to pick up a gate for the stairs and some covers for the DVD player and VCR because I really can't stand to fight this battle 17 times an hour, but how much more should I do? Am I supposed to walk around the house every morning and do a safety check? Will that become second nature?

The thing is, I've never known love like this before, and I'll do whatever it takes to protect this little person. Anything.

If you have a minute, stop by and visit Chatty Cricket. She could use a hug today.


KLee said...

The stair gate is a good idea. That really will keep him safe there. As far as the VCR locks and stuff, I wouldn't sweat it. He's captivated by them now, but the fascination may wear off shortly when he discovers something new.

One of the BEST purchases we ever bought (or got as a gift -- don't remember anymore...it's been SO long ago) was an Exersaucer. If I ever had to go to the bathroom, or if I just needed a hands-free moment, I would put baby Offspring into the Exersaucer for a minute. She had items to play with, and was exercising her legs, but it was stationary, and I didn't have the added worry that she'd bump into something.

This might go a long way towards you being able to get a cup of coffee or going to the bathroom in relative peace.

It's very normal to watch them like a hawk, and so is the overwhelming love. :)

liz said...

Stair gate for the stairs and a play yard for your living room. Put some of Gabe's toys in the play yard and put him in there with them when you're going for your potty or coffee break.

Angie said...

Do what our parents did - teach him not to touch certain things and train him to play on a blanket spread on the floor. Steven HATED the exersaucer and the playyard was the screaming pit he wanted to climb out of the instant his feet broke the invisible barrier hovering just over the top of it. My playyard? That I spent alot of money on? I use it for a brooder for my chickens. Imagine that. :/

P.S. By the second baby all of those worries disappear. You might even find yourself looking the other way when he eats some of the dog food.

Jen said...

We used the excersaucer, and also kept a pack n play set up in the living room. My kids are 13 months apart so if I ever wanted to do anything (like pee) I needed them contained. Baby Einstein was a big help if I needed to shower while they were awake. Gates too, lots of gates.

chatty cricket said...

I have a brilliant plan- pack up all of your things in a thousand boxes, move to our neighborhood, and get too busy to unpack. If all of your stuff is in boxes in the garage, Gabe can't get into it!

The best practical and immediate advice I can offer is what the other ladies are saying too, which is keep him contained. In the exersaucer, in his crib, wherever. He may be pissed, but at least you know he's safe and the yelling is better than the crashing down the stairs. And don't drive yourself nuts with all of the baby proofing "stuff." It gets expensive, and he'll figure out how to get around it eventually. Just follow him around and when he goes for something he shouldn't, tell him "no!" and redirect him. Eventually he'll just skip it.

But it can't hurt to use all of the childproofing stuff, right?

PT-LawMom said...

It never stops. Mine is 4 and I have nightmares about something happening to him. I really need to stop watching the news! Seems like everything I hear about is from people getting distracted so I'd just say you should continue paying close attention and, if you can't, make sure the baby is somewhere safe (like, as they said, the exersaucer). Also remember that some things can wait. I'd wait to do certain things (like laundry in the basement) when my son was an infant because I couldn't juggle both easily. When my husband came home, he could watch our son and I could do laundry at night. Or he could lug the baskets down so I could just put loads on with our son in one arm.

Anonymous said...

Contain! Contain! Contain! My exersaucer was my friend when my son was little. I was able to shower and get other chores done with he bounced happily in it. Occasionally I would have to use a Baby Einstien DVD, but hey, whatever works! Great blog, btw, I found a link to your on Chris' blog. (Notes from the Trenches) Keep up the good work! Reading your blog brings back memories for me, even though my son is ONLY 3!

ccw said...

You would be a nervous wreck at my house. My baby proofing involves a really, strong, metal gate attached to the walls on the top of the stairs and cabinet locks on the cleaning supplies. Beyond that, we say "no". It might take a bit of time for him/her to learn not to touch but then they do really well at other people's houses and you don't have to completely redo your own.

craft-chick said...

We did everything to keep our little guy safe. Think of everything you can, because inevitably the little ones always think of something we miss. Our friends completely boarded their fireplace after their daughter put a kerosene treated rock in her mouth in less than 15 seconds.

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

Not only do I echo what others have said, but I wish you this necessary bit: I hope Gabe is the kind of baby that will allow you to confine him, if only temporarily. Angry Boy was great--he would often sit in one place for chunks of time, looking at his toys. He enjoyed his exersaucer for months, until he outgrew it. He enjoyed his playpen.

Angry Little Baby? Oy, not so much. HATES confinement, even in something fun. Like Angie's kid, apparently.

Kris said...

Oh! Look at him, so big! I can't believe it.

Lisanne said...

I can't believe how big your little guy is getting! Before you know it, you'll be planning his first birthday celebration! :) We *love* our baby gate at the top of the stairs. Those outlet covers are awesome, too. And a toilet paper lock, if your little guy is into rolling out the TP. Our 2.5-year-old gets into EVERYTHING! It's *so* frustrating sometimes. But he's discovering! We have a play area in our bonus room, and that rocks. It amazes me what they can get into in, like, two seconds.