So LadyP has been crawling like a son-of-a-gun for a few weeks now… and Hubby has been constantly instructing me to babyproof the house. “Yes” I nod. I lie. I most likely will do something non-invasive eventually, but at this headstrong moment in my parenting journey, I’m proclaiming that babyproofing is baloney. That’s right. I call bull$hit. Extreme babyproofing is UNfabulous propaganda put forth by corporate America to send new parents into a panicked spending spree on ugly products and trinkets that ruin your home and encourage you to become complacent.. all while dumbing down your baby’s ability to judge right from wrong. Take your cushioned stick-on corners and shove ’em.
I also don’t appreciate the condescending judgement that babyproofing seems to promote… at least, that’s how it feels whenever I get the question “Have you babyproofed yet?” No. I haven’t. Looks of shock and disapproval follow. Whatever. As I’m beginning to realize, babyproofing (how much or how little you do it) is one of those decisions that indirectly establishes what kind of parent you will be. Based on how I currently feel and act (again, at this moment in time, with only one little baby to look after), I am on the fast-track to be one of those “I’m in control/Don’t touch that/Move the baby should she venture anywhere near danger/NO” parents. As a toddler, I wasn’t allowed to roam freely without proper adult supervision (so I’m told by my mom). Neither is LadyP. When it’s crawling time, I’m there on the ground with her and monitoring her every move. When it’s ‘mommy cooking dinner’ or ‘mommy doing laundry’ time, she’s in her playpen or crib (sometimes complaining at the top of her lungs, but oh well… she gets over it).
Although I applaud the authors of this all-inclusive baby-proofing checklist to remind myself about questionable safety zones in my house, I can’t help but think: DUH?!??! Do I really need to go out and spend a fortune on products that will supposedly combat these looming dangers? Most of the things on this list can be fought with common sense and good judgement. Yes, stairways should be blocked. Yes, doors should be closed/locked. Yes, medicines/chemical-cleaners should be moved to higher ground. DUH.
Exactly how long do you plan on leaving your crawling/walking baby/toddler ALONE to go somewhere or get into something they shouldn’t? I’ve been longtime enraged by the mandate to cover electrical outlets the most. Exactly how long does one expect to leave his/her child unattended to discover, crawl/walk to, sit/stand in front of, stick their fingers in and then pick at an electrical outlet? And, it’s only a matter of time when the kid figures out how to remove the ‘protective gadgets’… thus leaving you back at square one. Here’s what I’m experimenting with right now: If my baby gets too close to the cabinets, I MOVE her away. If she gets too close to the plug, I MOVE her away. I’m honestly not trying to be high-and-mighty, nor do I think I’m immune from an accident happening in my home under my watch, but I AM a believer in actively paying attention, staying on my toes, taking charge and responsibility for my kids’ whereabouts and not relinquishing myself to the propaganda of consumerism out of fear. I’m raising LadyP in the same way that I was raised… in a non-babyproofed house with good old-fashioned, attentive parenting.
Am I the only lunatic that’s had it with the “Are you babyproofing” interrogations? Probably. I expect many angry responses to this post. But this is where I’m at now.
Tomorrow: Part 2. My alternative to babyproofing (inspired by Cesar Millan).