Mommy Rant: Babyproofing v. The Strong-Willed Child

Mommy Rant: Babyproofing v. The Strong-Willed Child

If you have kids, you know that as soon as they’re mobile, the pediatrician asks you if you’ve “babyproofed” the house yet. Working in a daycare, the concept made total sense: bolt furniture and move things the kids could hurt themselves with. Common sense, right? Now that I’m a mom, I’ve become convinced that the concept of “babyproofing” is a gimmick created by baby product companies to get you to spend money on things that might not even work. Here’s why.

From the time I first felt my little one kick, I knew she was going to be one tough cookie.  I was working at a child care facility at the time, and the class had a child with some impulse control issues.  During one particularly violent episode, he gave me a good kick in the abdomen. And you know what? SHE KICKED HIM BACK. From that moment on, I knew I was in trouble. She also flipped us off and stuck her tongue out at us in a sonogram, but I digress…

Yep, that’s one fresh baby

When babies start crawling, most parents scramble to babyproof everything within reach. Of course we did that with anything that could tip over or break and harm her. Beyond that, we crossed each bridge as we came to it, fixing, bolting, and blocking things as she began to notice them. 

But with every milestone she got a heck of a lot taller and shall I say, ballsier. When she became more comfortable walking, she learned that she could hold onto something and stand on her tippy-toes to reach things I had moved. Recently, she has begun to climb, so now she will use anything she can find to stand on and grab them. Last week she came to the door of her room (we have a gate in the doorway) with the computer mouse in her hand saying “Barney! Barney!” which she had been watching on YouTube. The mouse was least 6-8 inches out of her reach even on her toes, so naturally I wanted to know how she was able to get it. As soon as I got into her room, I found out: she had piled all her pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals next to the desk and climbed them to reach it.  Not only did she manage to steal the mouse, she somehow opened 15 new browser windows, each playing a different episode of Barney simultaneously. She once also was able to steal the TV remote when I wasn’t looking and I went from watching the Travel Channel to watching a weird B-Movie from the 70s about a giant man-eating snake. Thank goodness it was free.

Babyproofing was tough to begin with considering most of our storage furniture being from Walmart, which is obviously not known for using premium materials in the construction of their products. So our desk for example, is so cheap that drilling holes into it would just crack it. I found a “babyproofing hack” online that used Command hooks and elastic to stop the little ones from getting into cabinets and drawers.  This worked on the cabinets on the hutch I have that my grandfather made, so I thought it was worth a shot with the desk.  I used fishing line this time, both so it was less visible and so that it would be less likely to snap and hurt her. That little stinker has gotten in those cabinets 3 times since I fixed them.

 
the “command hook” method of babyproofing

So I guess what I’m trying to convey in this post is that babyproofing is total BS. Just because most babies don’t have the fine motor or cognitive skills to figure these things out, doesn’t mean yours can’t. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it probably until I’m blue in the face: every kid is different and they all learn at their own pace. No one wants their kid to get hurt, but if your kid is anything like mine, prevention is pretty much impossible. It’s irritating, exhausting, and anxiety-inducing at times, but that’s when I have to step back and think about the positive aspects of the scenario. My kid is smart and has awesome problem-solving skills.  She’s curious, strong-willed, and stubborn, just like her mommy. And I wouldn’t have it any other way… 

Plotting her next move…

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