Who's Babyproofing Who?Magda Pecsenye
He calmly handed them to me, as my friend–whose apartment we were at for a playdate with her and her toddler daughter– caught up to him and looked at me in complete shock. “I can’t believe he grabbed those out of the wine rack,” she said.
It was in that moment that both of us realized how different our kids were, and how differently we’d had to babyproof our living spaces.
What I came to understand was that you HAD to babyproof things that could cause death (electricity, flights of stairs, knives) or things that made you want to die (another friend’s husband almost ran away from home after their son pulled down all his racks of 3,000 CDs that had been organized chronologically by when he’d listened to them). But everything else depended on what trouble your own kid wanted to get into. You didn’t have to plan for every possible scenario–just the ones your kid would be attracted to. It was extremely comforting.
My son couldn’t care one iota about electrical plugs. Yes, I babyproofed them because they’re so dangerous, but I really could have left a box full of knives and forks next to each electrical outlet in the house and he’d have just walked past. In contrast, my friend’s daughter was fascinated by outlets, but had never reached for a the wine bottles in the wine rack on their dining room floor.
We all know that our kids are different, but when they start to be mobile we can start to catastrophize and think that they’re going to get into every possible thing they can find in their environment, but that’s just not true. Some kids are attracted to some things, and others to others, so it’s more important to pay attention to your own child to figure out what you need to protect than to bubble-wrap your entire house.
Plus, the sound of that bubble-wrap popping can scare you.
What did your kids get into that your friends’ kids didn’t? What did they not care about that your friends’ kids did? Neither of my kids ever cared about the toilet or the refrigerator, but both were way too fascinated by our cats. And by juggling wine bottles.
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