Hey, baby! They’re proofing the house!

25 Oct

Image: Getty RF

If things go as planned, I will be able to remove the last child proofing device remaining in our home this afternoon. Reason? Our cat, Oliver, will no longer be living with us. Oliver is on his way to a new home, one that can afford his veterinary care.

We have the lock on our cabinet because Oliver loves nothing more than breaking things, especially glass and china. Before the cabinet lock was installed, a favorite Oliver activity was jumping on the kitchen counter, opening the cabinet where drinking glasses are stored and, with one swipe of his paw, dumping the contents on the floor. Hence, cabinet lock.

Astounding as Oliver’s antics appear, they are mere trifles. A blogging friend wrote recently that her baby daughter likes to gnaw on mini-blinds. I had a dog that ate one. This friend and her other baby-wrangling friend are dreading what happens when the Christmas tree goes up. I have a dog that ate a string of Christmas lights.

I think these parents worrying about mini-blinds and Christmas lights are so cute. Sure, one needs to be aware of the dangers these impose, as well as glass coffee tables, staircases, unlocked liquor cabinets and other baby magnets.

But there are so many more dangers lurking in your house, people. So many more.

There’s the oven.

My son didn’t crawl much. The first time he tried, he went backwards. Rather than repeatedly practicing to get it right, he bided his time until he had the muscle strength to walk. We installed gates at the staircases to the basement and the upstairs, of course. This, in effect, restricted our son to destroying playing on the first floor. He discovered the oven and, within moments, discovered how to open it and climb in. Fun!

The first oven lock adhered to the side of the oven and required two hands to achieve oven openage. This was defeated approximately half an hour after installation.  The second lock had to be ordered. It successfully defeated all opening efforts.

There’s the toilet.

Oven opening off the tour of terror, my son discovered the toilet.
All manner of things went into the potty, none of them vaguely related to pee or pooh. Cars, toothbrushes, tub toys. Again, a lock was installed. Again, it was defeated. Then our son discovered flushing. It is very expensive to have a plumber remove a flushed washcloth.

There’s the bathroom door.

His efforts at opening things thwarted, my son began closing things. Doors, in particular, were fun to shut, providing an irresistible form of peek-a-boo. Door open? There’s Mommy! Door closed? No more Mommy! Door open, door closed, door open, door closed. Fun!

Then there was the day the door closed . . .and locked. From the inside. In an old house. Built at a time when people expected privacy, not 18-month olds on overdrive.

For a while, my husband and I tried to get our son to unlock the door, reasoning that if he could flip it one way, he could flip it the other. While he couldn’t, it was clear that talking to Mommy and Daddy through the door was a blast. Fun!

Then we tried removing the door from its hinges. Daddy wrote funny pictures on a piece of paper and passed them through the bottom of the door while Mommy tried to remove the door. Daddy is a terrible artist; every thing he draws looks like a penis. Fun!

Silly Mommy discovered that hinges are not on the outside of doors. Figuring if they can get a cat out of a tree, they can get my son out of the john, I called the fire department.

Within minutes, at least four firemen, a police squad car and a hook and ladder truck arrived at our house, along with every neighbor within a quarter mile. Daddy continued to push penis pictures under the bathroom door while a fireman, boosted to the second floor (Oh, didn’t I say this was the second floor bathroom? Silly Mommy! Of course it was!), attempted to open the window. Fun!

Then it became not fun. A child can only pass so many penis pictures back and forth under the door. And having a strange man banging at the bathroom window did nothing to calm our son. He began to cry.

“What would you like to do, Ma’am?” said the police officer. “Should they break the window?”

“No,” I said, envisioning my baby covered in broken glass. “Keeping trying to open the window.” My son kept crying.

So, they tried to open the window. And they tried to open the window. My son cried harder.

“Ma’am,” the police officer said, “Your son is hysterical.”

“Break the window!” I cried.

I heard glass break and my son stop crying, then “It’s ok, little guy. It’s ok.”

I didn’t see the ladder descend and I don’t know if my husband did. The aftermath of the escapade isn’t burned into my brain, except for the sobbing release when I knew my son was all right.

So, parents, get your cabinet locks, your coffee table cushions, the door knob-defeaters, and the staircase gates. But don’t forget to take pictures when the hook and ladder truck arrives.

18 Responses to “Hey, baby! They’re proofing the house!”

  1. philosophermouseofthehedge October 25, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    And did a giggling Santa bring a red hook and ladder truck? Irony lost on kids…they love fire trucks, though….or was the incident so traumatic that sitting in the real one wasn’t a treat?

    • jmlindy422 October 25, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

      No fire truck. Maybe he was too traumatized! I don’t know if he even remembers; I’ll ask.

  2. The Waiting October 25, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

    This is so frightening. For serious. You should have posted this on Halloween because these are the things my nightmares are made of.

    • jmlindy422 October 25, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

      Oh, Emily, there are so many things to have nightmares over. I don’t think you ever get over the anxiety, but you learn to shove it aside or you’ll go crazy. Then they grow up and push you away and you have to live with that! But Miss C is beautiful and you love her and she looks great in glasses. Years and years to worry, but only a little while to dress them up like living Bitty Babies!

  3. todadwithlove October 25, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

    Wow, I was seriously getting worried there myself. I vaguely remember (well, mum makes sure I never forget) stuffing my nostrils with red seeds from the Saga tree when I was … what… three? And the household was sent into shrieks and hysteria. As the story goes, the seeds turned out to be lollies and we were told by the doctor to allow them to melt. Boy!

    • jmlindy422 October 25, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

      That is hilarious! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Mary Rayis October 26, 2012 at 7:25 am #

    When my oldest was 3, she stuck a stone up her nostril. My perfect angel, for no apparent reason, decided to stick a stone up her nose. Frantic, I called the pediatrician. He told me to park the car, calm down, close her mouth with her hand, and blow into the opposite nostril. Blow, with my mouth, into her nose! I contemplated getting a new pediatrician. But I thought I’d give it a try. Lo and behold, two blows and that sucker came flying out of her nostril! Pediatrician now elevated to God-like status. I related this story to a friend, and a week later she was able to put the technique in action when her son randomly stuck a kernel of corn up his nose.

    So now, readers, you at least know what to do when your children stick objects up their noses!

    • jmlindy422 October 26, 2012 at 9:22 am #

      Priceless. Maybe I should write a post about stupid kid tricks. I had to Heimlich my son three times before he was four. Carrots, quarters and I can’t remember what the third thing was.

      • Mary Rayis October 29, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

        I remember calling the week of that incident Julia’s Death Wish Week because within a week, along with sticking the stone in her nose, she was caught climbing the second floor railing and sticking a plastic grocery bag over her head!

  5. scribblechic October 26, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    I shouldn’t laugh, but I couldn’t stop. There is a sisterhood among mothers of resourceful and curious children. A new favorite post!

    • jmlindy422 October 26, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

      We discovered, later, what many people tried to tell us from the beginning. He has ADHD, in addition to being brilliant. We knew the brilliant part, of course. Thanks for the nice words, sistah!

  6. Chester Garden Club October 27, 2012 at 9:03 am #

    Great blog! It reminded me of similar trials at our own house when the kids were small. Later we had a repeat performance with an adult guest who was inadvertently locked in a bedroom when the door handle fell off and she couldn’t fit it back. Meanwhile, her husband, who had been in the shower, was dancing around in the hallway wrapped only in a towel because his clothes were in the bedroom. A neighbour with a tall ladder came to our rescue on that occasion.

    • jmlindy422 October 29, 2012 at 10:32 am #

      Thanks! Love the idea of a house guest hopping up and down in the hall half naked.

  7. Emily October 28, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    Oliver’s leaving???? 😦

    • jmlindy422 October 28, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

      Sorry, Emily. Oliver’s gone. The shelter was SO nice about it and really loves him. They think it’ll be easy to find him a home.

  8. kelloggs77 October 29, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

    As a mother of a young boy, I can sympathize. We only thought we had baby-proofed the house when my daughter was born…then came my son. We have had quite a few near disasters. And a LOT of destructions of lesser importance. And fortunately, I HAVE taken pictures of quite a few of them. While I know your hook and ladder experience was not fun to experience at the time, as a writer you can now thank your son for the gift of good material.

    • jmlindy422 October 30, 2012 at 8:58 am #

      I could make a living off the stuff my son has done. I wish I had pictures of his throwing himself against the wall phase. Enjoy blackmailing him with the pictures when he gets older.

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