Making Time: Baby Proofing
Definitely not a one-size-fits-all task

“Wait? That’s an actual drawer?!”

We’ve been in our house for 6 years. And yes, I use the kitchen. But it wasn’t until I heard clanging in the kitchen and found Adam playing with oven racks on the floor that I discovered a shallow drawer under the lower oven (apparently that’s where my wife keeps cookie cooling racks and other items, who knew?). That’s also when I realized the baby proofing we did for Brandon was not going to work for Adam, as the 2 are clearly different children.

Sarah and I baby proofed for Brandon when he began to explore, and never really took the proofing down once Adam joined us. Gates went up, kitchen items were rearranged, drawers were magnetized shut, and shelving was secured to the wall. But Brandon also had our full attention, and he was relatively uninterested in being quite as mischievous.

Adam, on the other hand, is not subtle about anything. He’s our happy, smiley, sweet child, who will openly flash his big bright smile with his big round eyes as he toddles straight towards the drawer, door or item you just directly told him not to touch, as if to say, “watch me”. Adam might not have all of his words quite yet, but he knows exactly what he’s doing.

The other day, I heard the sound of Brandon’s step stool moving across the floor, but Brandon was sitting next to me on the couch. I looked into the kitchen, and there was Adam – all 17 months and 30 inches tall – on the first step, on his tippy toes, reaching up onto the counter to see what he could pull down.

“What do you think you’re doing Adam?” I asked. I picked him up and he pointed to the bananas. “You want a banana?” Emphatic nodding followed. (This kid. Seriously.)

Opening the dishwasher has become a cue for Adam to either try to push the door closed or take something out, be it clean or dirty, while we try to make sure no one’s fingers get pinched. If the refrigerator doors are open, he will try to close the door while endlessly repeating, “Door. Door. Door. Door.”

And forget trying to open the freezer. That’s a signal for him to push the drawer shut or start removing anything he can reach (especially ice packs!). And he has discovered how to open the microwave, so we will have to go back to the drawing board there as well.

Adam is quite the little kitchen explorer, but his favorite area is the cabinet that holds the baking sheets and the spinning corner cabinet next to it. (Why isn’t the spinning corner cabinet locked, you might ask? That’s a good question, and if you know how to lock it without damaging the finish, please let me know.) Adam pushes the spinning cabinet, takes out the colander, puts it back in, so when you go to cook one evening you might find some random toy he placed there instead.

When we are able to shift his attention away from kitchen excitement, Adam is still one step ahead of us – literally. He can spot an open gate before anyone can close it. Usually he climbs halfway up before you have the opportunity to catch him. Or he’ll move a tumbling mat to the couch, boost himself up to lean over the edge and almost fall to the ground. If that isn’t enough, he makes sure to be a little brother by sitting on Brandon (much to Brandon’s vocal displeasure), who is merely lying on the couch watching a show, which leads to the inevitable, “Adam, stop sitting on your brother.”

Adam is our daily reminder that no 2 children are the same, and baby proofing for 1 is not baby proofing for all. He’s definitely going to keep me on my toes. And from the way things have gone so far, he’ll probably help me discover more about the house I’ve lived in for years.

September 2021
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