April 19, 2006


Try clicking on the word “childproofing” on your search engine and you will receive a kilometric list of links teeming with all sorts of precautionary measures you should take to ensure that your toddler is safe in your home.

Secure your stairs with baby gates to avoid nasty falls! Buy adhesive mount cabinet latches to block access to harmful objects! Use toilet locks to keep your child from touching the germ-filled toilet water! Unplug electrical appliances when not in use!

Indeed, the security recommendations for keeping your place safe for baby are endless and more than sufficient to drive the meek of heart to the brink of parental paranoia.

However, I noticed that what the purported safety experts fail to offer is much-needed advice regarding the opposite side of the coin. Specifically: what must be done to proof the house from baby?

For, as most desperate folk with a mischievous imp in their midst know only too well, a tiny toddler can wreak huge havoc in any peaceful dwelling. I thus took it upon myself to draw up a list of things that could help protect the familial abode from infant destruction.

Daddies and mommies, follow these at your own discretion:

o Remove all objects within reach of your octopus baby, the operative word here being all. Keep in mind that anything that can be grabbed will be grabbed and dropped to the ground to test the forces of gravity. (Important note: The higher the cost price of the item on display, the more chances of being singled out for grabbing.)

o Buy a bed with a warranty so you can replace it when your junior acrobat has worn it down it by jumping on it way too many times. Better yet, save yourself the trouble and buy your family a sleeping bag.

o Do not bother with wallpaper. Instead, have a fresh bucket of paint on hand so you can readily repaint the walls every time your young Picasso doodles wildly on them.

o Wrap your cellular phone in thick foam. Your mobile may not look as chic, but at least you can rest assured it will not crash into smithereens after being hurled across the room by your little Hercules.

o The above also applies to the remote control.

o Stack up on empty boxes and old wrapping paper. Bring them out whenever you need to keep your toddler preoccupied for a few minutes. Forget toys – they don’t work.

o Speaking of toys, save your money and refrain from buying toy tv sets, toy stereos, toy tool kits, toy telephones and the like. They don’t fool anyone. Your wise offspring will still prefer to play with the real things.

o Tape your favorite novels shut. Either that or be prepared to watch your baby Einstein open your precious books and gleefully rip the pages one by one.

o You can now sell your lawnmower. All you need to do is set your kid loose in the garden and you will have patches of grass (and flowers) plucked out by eager diminutive fingers in no time.

o Buy hundreds of rubber placemats and stick them together until they make up one big piece that can cover your entire kitchen. This is the only way to ensure that your kitchen remains immaculately clean after feeding your rowdy baby.

o The above also applies to your bathroom. Simply substitute placemats with towels.

o Stash all medicines in a locked cabinet – except your baby’s medicines. Those you can leave within easy reach because no matter what you do, children just hate, hate, hate taking their medicine.

o Experts warn that we must unplug electrical appliances when not in use. In truth, kids actually unplug all electrical appliances that are in use. So really, you can just leave everything on. Your troublesome tot will automatically switch everything off by eagerly pulling the plugs.

o Never shut the door. There is nothing like a closed door to turn your small angel into a wailing, shrieking, kicking, pounding banshee.

o Learn to stop saying no. The more you say no, the more stubbornness will ensue. For unruly rugrats, “no” easily translates to “do it some more…fast…before I get caught!” Be smart and improvise accordingly. Try holding your tongue and letting them do whatever they want to do until they get tired of it.

If you have similar tips in mind, do share them. We the hapless have no option but to stick together and learn from each other in order to survive the topsy-turvy planet of parenthood.

Now, please excuse me while I pad our kitchen with placemats. Our one year-old bundle of crazy energy is getting ready for lunch.

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