So we have reached the age where baby-proofing is the hot potato! Sure we have had 10 months to prepare for this moment and I have had constant reminders from the various parenting sites I subscribe to about all the various unforeseen dangers that can present themselves to a now moving baby.
At around the 6 month mark, we even made a dedicated trip to the DIY store to buy the much-needed baby gates, socket covers and door locks. However as of yet we have installed about 5 socket covers in the entire house and just one yes one, door lock.
The door guards designed to stop baby shutting their fingers between it and the frame are now acting as an alternative door stop so that we can keep the windows open without fear of internal doors slamming shut as opposed to the purpose for which they were actually designed.
See Here in Lies the Problem.
It’s not that we don’t want to make sure there’s a safe environment for our little man, nor that we are stupid enough to think that we can continue to watch him every waking minute to avoid accidents from occurring, as they inevitably will. It’s that our house was never built nor designed for children! It’s not an ancient relic, nor is it cutting edge modern. It’s a bulk standard 30-year-old terrace Portuguese house.
Anyone who has been to Portugal will instantly know that the methods and quality applied to builds back then were not really to the same standard of say somewhere in the UK. God even our main supporting beam isn’t level. We have tiled floors, sharp corners, and multiple levels on an open planned lay out, literally every window in our house is a Patio door bar two (god that’s a lot of windows to secure!) So the question becomes, how do we baby proof?
As we begin to look at the main dangers it quickly becomes clear that no sooner than we have eliminated those, there seems an entire new set of obstacles present themselves that are equally just as dangerous. So other than converting our entire home into something that closely resembles the tellytubbies house or wrapping pillows around every exposed area of our child how the hell are we suppose to make sure he will never come into contact with one of them?
I have heard the suggestion of getting down on your hands and knees or belly to get a crawling baby’s perspective to find the dangers within an easily reached zone. However we have had a non-crawling baby, instead he has opted to go straight to pulling up and cruising and this presents an entirely different level of baby proofing. He is not exactly your content to sit and play with a few toys type of kid, he wants to get up, be active and basically involved in anything that might be going on. We absolutely love this about him, but man it’s exhausting.
Every weekend now for at least the last month, we have marked it on our calendars to set about baby proofing, yet inevitably after an first attempt at one baby proof task, it gets pushed back.
We followed the recommendation and bought screw in, stair gates so that they are not easily pushed over, yet we have chrome banisters with glass partitions, so the problem presented here is how to fix them? Even if we had opted for spring-loaded gates, they would never of worked; slipping off the rounded shiny metal. So now the obstacle is no longer the stairs themselves, but how we make sure the actual gate isn’t a baby hazard…. Call in the carpenter! Who is trying to work out some kind of a makeshift boxing to install around the bannister that is secure enough for us to attach the gate to. In the meantime we have opted to start teaching the little man how to maneuver them on his bum and knees as a way to hopefully counteract this issue of him potentially falling up or down them. Honestly I feel by the time we actually resolve this matter he will be walking up and down freely.
The glass shelf under our TV unit thankfully is shatter proof, yet still presents a hard surface conveniently positioned just at chin/tooth height! Which he loves to use as leverage to stand up to dance in front of the TV. Enter a foam noodle, originally designed for water activities which I sliced with a Stanley knife and fits quite snuggly onto it, which now has become an item of amusement to him which he likes to pull at or attempt to bite! (sigh) Which I still feel this is better than no protection as well, yet may in fact attract him to it all the more.
Right now we are coming to the end of our summer and with temperatures still hitting 37 degrees, as yet we have had absolutely no need to think about lighting our wood burner, which is definitely a good thing being as the little man uses it as he go to mirror to check himself out about a hundred times again! He is obsessed with the drawer, twirling the knob and pushing the fan button up and down, so this is going to be a major issue when the temperatures do drop and we need some form of heat source, however currently more worrying than the fire situation is the rugged rough fire bricks that surround it. Queue foam rolled number two but this time massive fail, the thing won’t hug it like it did the shelf and instead just falls off….. This is now my current task to research for an alternative before we end up at A&E with a cracked skull, because no amount of teaching him is getting him to give up staring at himself.
And when it comes to the kitchen? Do any of you actually realise just how many cupboard and drawer units you have? I think we may need to take out a second mortgage if we are to cover the cost of the door locks needed to keep the little man away from poisons, sharp objects and glass. Although at the moment he is oblivious to the kitchen and with any luck it will stay that way until he is old enough to make me a cup of tea!
Now you’d think I had pretty much summarised all out baby-proofing issues, but that guys it just the ground floor, add into the mix 3 patio doors upstairs, a balcony and an outside staircase leading to the roof terrace as well as toilets, baths and yeap even more doors and I think its pretty easy to see why baby proofing just isn’t happening.
We will attempt to teach him about each danger as we meet it, such as how to scoot off the sofa legs and bum first and sit down to get down the step, and as we find those hazards that we know could present a problem we will take the necessary steps to safeguard him.
For now though we’re rolling with it, and have invested in a massive playpen, so that when there are those times we just cannot have eyes in the back of our head we at least have someone safe to place him.