1) Parents like to brag about their child’s milestones. Crawling, first steps and baby teeth are first-time parents’ trophies. We gasp. We smile with pride. We rush for our cameras.
But the truth is these milestones really are just more opportunities for our kids to die. Once Sonny started crawling, Jaime and I got down on all fours looking for potential death traps. We bought outlet covers (so he wouldn’t electrocute himself), a bumper for the cement-rimmed fireplace (so he wouldn’t concuss himself), and a baby gate (so he wouldn’t somersault down the stairs). Taking steps made Sonny even more adventurous, standing–and falling–while using the couch, the kitchen chairs, the dog’s face as a lean-to, opening cabinets and pulling out all of their contents, and, my least favorite, biting the toilet seat. Teeth, while adorable, only up the choking hazards, meaning the subtext behind my recent Facebook post, “Baby’s first tooth!,” is “Please don’t let anything in my home be made of parts small enough that they can lodge in a baby’s wind pipe!” It all makes me yearn for the larval days when Sonny was perfectly content sleeping against my chest while I watched football and wasn’t compelled to beat the remote against every hard surface in the living room, including his own head.
2) I assumed baby-proofing would also mean Brian-proofing. I didn’t think I had the motor skills or reason to solve the puzzle of the double outlet cover, and after walking through the baby-proofing section (Yes, section.) at Babies ‘R Us, I began accepting that I’d never be able to open another cabinet or door and would probably have to poop in the yard with the dogs. Those weren’t toilet bowl locks–they were medieval torture devices.
3) I didn’t want us to be those parents, the ones whose home turned into a prison–even if that prison had toys.
4) I thought I solved our baby-proofing problems when I made the suggestion to Jaime that we skip the gadgets and just cover Sonny in bubblewrap with holes for his mouth, nose, hands and feet, but she didn’t go for it. It could have saved us over hundred bucks in baby-proofing supplies and a near nervous breakdown (me, not her) due to the overwhelming nature of shopping at Babies ‘R Us, where the adults just barely outnumber the children, yet still I fear for my life.