Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Livin' on the Edge

This weekend we went for a walk in James Gardens with my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, niece and nephew.  For a good portion of the walk my 3 year old niece insisted on walking beside/in front of our double stroller so she could hold onto Molly and Jack's hands while we walked.  A very sweet gesture, albeit highly dangerous as she kept on positioning herself in front of the wheels of the stroller, stopping suddenly and absently cutting off the stroller in pursuit of various distractions around the park.  It didn't matter how many times she was warned by me, her parents, how often it was suggested that she play ahead with her brother, or hold someone else's hand, she was determined to be close to her cousins.

Later that afternoon, mere hours following a conversation about how children are in constant pursuit of death, Molly decided it was a good idea to climb into the base of the Exersaucer (AKA The Console of Doom or COD) while her brother towered above her inside the COD in the middle of an uncontrollable jumping frenzy.  We pulled her out immediately shuddering at the thought of baby trampling and realized that the minions are at the age where they are completely dangerous to themselves and each other.  I finally understand when a friend of Chris's, and father of three, announced that children are like monkeys on acid.  I am aware that pre-parent me complained about rubber floored playgrounds and Darwinism, but the minions are now capable of turning pens into shivs and they head butt each other constantly, it's like prison here.

That being said, I decided to dedicate this week to baby-proofing the house.

Somewhat proud to say that this was not our handy-work!

Baby-Proofing Completed
  • Baby Gates Up - Special thanks to my father for taking painstaking efforts and 3 trips to our house, and the hardware store ensuring that the gates didn't damage our banisters and fit easily against the walls when the minions are asleep so we can run loads of laundry without killing ourselves.*
  • Book Shelves Secured to the Wall**
  • All medicines and highly toxic products moved to high shelves in washroom.***
  • Inserted 13 plastic safety plugs in various outlets around the house, including one on the top of the electric stove, even though I know that if Molly or Jack manage to climb onto the stove unsupervised to electrocute themselves in the outlet that I've already failed about 5 times as a parent.
  • Installed Safety Swivel Outlet covers for all outlets in the nursery.
  • Installed regular outlet covers for all outlets in the house that didn't have covers.****
  • Moved all super breakable stuff or things that we really like off of the bottom 2 shelves in the living room or over to my parent's house for a few years.
  • Temperature on hot water turned down to 49 degrees C or 120 degrees F.
Baby-Proofing to Complete
  • Eye hook on door to music room to protect Chris's records, musical instruments and prevent possible death by giant amplifier.
  • Cabinet & Drawer latches in bathrooms and kitchen.
  • Poison control on programmed onto speed dial, cell and house phone.
  • Put special squeeze door handles on bathroom doors and office door.
  • Figure out how to hide electric cords for floor lamps.

Questions I Have About Baby-proofing
  • Are toilet locks really necessary?*****
  • Are faucet protectors worth the cost/ necessary?  Should we get one for the bath that they'll never use?
  • I read something about keeping one kitchen cupboard unlocked that contained things like plastic containers and bowls to allow the kids to explore, is it worth it to avoid total household lock-down?
  • How do I teach the minions to be nice to my 14 year old cat, and that he has far he just moans in displeasure when they try to pet him (AKA pull his tail, ears, poke him in the eyes and squeeze his cat belly as hard as they can)?  Or is this a lesson that he'll teach them himself, much to our horror?
  • What am I missing?
  • They're totally going to still hurt themselves on something we haven't thought of, aren't they?

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*We're taking bets on the first adult to fall down the stairs over the baby gates if anyone is interested.
**I'm not sure if I am going to be thanking my father, who also secured the book shelves, based on his comments about how he hopes that I'm happy about book shelf location and how I may have to just "paint around them" or leave them be should we ever move.
***Thank you to our friend, PMM, for telling me the horrifying story about how although his mother hid, locked and stacked fermentation tablets in the highest possible cabinet of the kitchen that he still managed to get them and ingest them while she was in the washroom because he thought they were scotch mints.
****Yes, we've been in the house for over 3 years now and this was still outstanding until today. Does it make it any less savage that most of these plug outlets are partially covered by furniture or that I had purchased the plug plate covers in August while I was still pregnant and that they've sat in a plastic bag on our back porch ever since waiting to be installed?
 *****Says the woman who grew up in the house with plumbing emergencies from my brother flushing a novelty over-sized Toucan Soap down the toilet and a dog who dumped his Kong chew toy down the toilet.


  1. Are toilet locks really necessary? YES! they are OBSESSED with toilets! well at least little boys are.

    Are faucet protectors worth the cost/ necessary? Only in the tub they use and even then they'll try and pull it off.

    HELL YES!! give them the tupperware!!!!

    The cat will teach them, over and over again, there's nothing you can do if you want them in the same room as each other.

    you need those stupid corner cover things, that go on the sharp corners of the desk or table if you have 'em, trust me there will be a lot of head bonks and the sharp corners

    1. Thanks for the tips. Any recommendations on where to get the best price/products? Somewhere more like Canadian Tire or Home Depot or Babies R Us? Also, what about slightly rounded corners? Did you bother with corner covers for them? I think the kitchen table is too high for a long while, but the coffee table in the living room could be really painful.

      As for the cat, he's already figuring out some good hiding places to get safe distances...Hopefully that and passive resistance remains his defense for a little while longer....poor Pan.

  2. Do you have a Walmart close? I'm thinking not, so I'd say Babies are us... everything is usually around the same price for it.
    We never really bothered with round ones, just the really pointy ones that could do a lot of damage ;) bumps and bruises are one thing, but blood and holes from sharp corners is another, haha.

  3. Hi, this is Katy, I am a friend of Michelle's from Chatham. Read your blog entry about baby/child proofing, we did a lot of the same things. I did not know there was such a thing as faucet protectors. Are they to prevent againts scalding or drowning or both? We just put a latch on the outside of all the bathroom doors although I can easily see someone forgetting to latch the door shut, especially guests. Read another reader's comment about kids liking to play in the toilet, my almost three year old has never wanted to play in the toilet, ever! Guess I have been lucky so far on that one. Also, you asked if it is worth it having an extra cupboard stocked with kid friendly objects inside for your kids to play with while you are in the kitchen... I would say, YES, a resounding yes, but we are in the weird situation of now having too much cupboard space so I guess it depends on your situation. Also I don't have any cleaners in the house, we bought a cupboard to put up high in the garage. I know you are in TO and therefore may not have a garage though. Also I don't use any cleaning agents at all myself, I use natural alternatives liike baking soda and vinegar for example. That way I can clean the floor with my children present (and they are almost always around) without doing harm to them. Say hi to Chris from Katy :)

  4. That's a great idea about cleaning products, we have some great high shelves in our laundry room that we could use. Faucet protectors serve a few purposes, from what I can see: they prevent burns if your tap heats up, (although we have the water heat down for that reason too) and they cover a sharp pointy tap. I remember bonking my head on our faucet a few times as a kid while playing in the bath and it really I think I'm going to get the faucet protector for sure....we have the special "child-proof" door handles to prevent them from playing in the toilet, but I don't want to wait until we have a plumbing issue before I decide to lock things down. I will let Chris know that you said hi!

  5. Sara, if you don't want to make cleaning solutions yourself, there are some great ones out there that are 100% safe for the kiddies. ( ones that they even say " you can drink this" hahah, )

    1. Yes, that might be a good idea, considering they put EVERYTHING in their mouths... We use vinegar and water already...I've heard about using lemons or limes as well as baking soda...I'm sure there are some good "recipes" online that I can find as I start clearing out old cleaning products.

  6. I feel like the odds of me falling over the baby-gate are pretty high...

  7. "They're totally going to still hurt themselves on something we haven't thought of, aren't they?" --Yes, indeed, they are. And every kid is different and discovers new ways to try and kill themselves (and you're extra lucky because twins teach each other all their tricks!) that no one in the history of the world has ever thought of. I was once sitting for a pair of 2 year old twins and while I was dealing with the latest attempt at self-injury by one of them, the other slipped into the other room and managed to climb onto the windowsill, remove the screen from the window, and was perched quite calmly looking down from the second story onto the concrete backyard below, all in about 30 seconds. Do you have locks on your windows? (Also, ovens and dishwashers are fun places to hide in - I'm not sure if they have locks for those, one family I worked for resorted to using packing tape to close all appliances like that; it had to be replaced every day, but at least it gave us a warning when we heard packing tape being slowly peeled off...)

    Also, even for the things that you DO prepare for - I'm always amazed by how children can defeat every "safety device. Baby gate? No problem - just learn how to climb over. Crib cover so they don't wander around the house in the middle of the night? Just learn how to unzip it from the inside. Book shelves secured to the wall? Just learn how to climb up them to the top so they can fall off from there and hurt themselves that way instead. Medicine or other dangerous products on high shelves? Use the back of a crouched over sibling as a step-stool.

    You have to wonder about the evolutionary sense of a species that seems intent on killing itself in the first five years of life...