Wednesday, November 10, 2010

There's no such thing as baby proofing

There comes a time in every mother’s life where she has to get down on her knees and… figure out what could be dangerous for her baby. Baby-proofing your home is important, it’s vital. Literally, your child’s life could depend on it. Stores are filled with baby proofing gadgets and I’ve even heard of services that will come in and baby proof your house for you (now that would never work in Italy!). So I’m not saying you shouldn’t baby-proof. What I am saying, is that you can hire all the professionals in the world and you can spend three days at ground level trying to figure out what could harm your child, and I promise, your baby will find something dangerous anyway. Children are maddening that way. So baby proof away, cause you’ll be reducing the truly, obviously dangerous stuff, but don’t get complacent. Don’t think that your house is actually baby proof cause no house ever is. You have to watch the kid like a hawk anyway. The only time you can really relax is when your baby is sleeping, in the lead-less, no drop-bar, slats are the proper distance apart, crib you just bought.
I’m not being facetious. I just think that watching my child is the best baby proofing I can do, that teaching him to go down the stairs on his butt will eventually benefit both him and me, but I did put in the baby gate for when I have to turn away for a minute cause kids are fast! The thing is, we can’t baby proof the world. You will end up taking your child places that aren’t kid friendly, you may go to a restaurant that has no high chairs and you’ll have to make do with pillows or (a favorite here) a phonebook on the chair, you may travel and believe me, the rest of the world does not baby proof like Americans try to. I grew up in Texas and I live in Italy, I spend half my time going those crazy Italians and the other half going those crazy Americans. So make sure your child is aware of the danger around him, if the gate at the head of the stairs is open I expect my kid to not careen down the stairwell head first cause he knows that stairs are dangerous and he has to hold my hand. Put it this way, the gate is for my peace of mind! Also, there are dangers at any age, so getting in the habit of teaching them what they can and cannot do, will make our lives as mothers easier, cause we’re going to be doing it for a very, very long time. And teaching them to recognize danger and using their brains to assess it will help them all the way into adulthood.
We can’t baby proof the world, so teaching our babies to be careful is the best thing for them, and getting in the habit of being ever vigilant is the best practice for us mothers and in the end a little trust goes a long way!

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