Monday, April 21, 2008

An interesting thought...

One consistent thing that is said to me is, "Just wait until he starts to [crawl / walk / run]. Then, your life is OVER!"

This is another example of a long string of examples of things that people say that, if they really sat down and thought about it for a moment, they'd be mortally embarrassed that they said. I mean, think about this: what they're telling me, and the tone of voice they're using, is that life ends when babies become mobile. The implication that I've received from those is that the baby moving around on his own power is such a negative event that it brings to an end anything that I hold dear in my current existence.

What?

The Boy crawling and running is going to be such an all-powerful and negative event that I will no longer enjoy singing, playing games with him, watching baseball and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, playing my video games and reading books with him?

How is that possible?

Now, I enter into this relationship (with the baby) with my eyes fully open. I understand that the baby is going to get into everything that he can lay his hands upon. I understand that he's going to try to pull every cable and wire, stick things in every electrical outlet, touch every television and computer screen and keyboard and flush every telephone and PS3 controller down the toilet. I understand that he's going to discover the fun game of unrolling toilet paper and yanking out tissues. I understand that he's going to try to get at the fun-colored chemicals underneath the sinks.

So? Is that bad? I mean, except for the chemicals under the sink. That's bad. But the rest really isn't. It's called "having children."

I think that anyone that does not expect massive lifestyle changes is truly ignorant and - considering the massive amounts of information freely and conveniently available on the internet - unintelligent. How do you NOT know that children are going to try to get into that stuff? Any babyproofing website at all is going to tell you to cover all exposed outlets, secure loose wires as best as possible and lock every cabinet that has dangerous things... and, if possible, create some cabinet and drawer space that can be marked with bright stickers and fun decals that is full of baby-safe stuff.

We're planning on taking the bottom drawer next to the refrigerator and turning it into The Boy's drawer. We'll put stickers on the outside, fill it with a couple of old pots and pans and wooden spoons and other fun and noisy things for him. We'll also have a drawer in the spare room that will have paper and crayons and things for him. In the bathroom, I'm trying to figure out how to rearrange the cabinets so that part of the space can be filled with fun bathroom things for him - bath toys, bubble bath and stuff like that.

Will this prevent him from trying to get into the drain cleaner under the sink? (Which is actually in the garage, in a difficult-to-enter storeroom, on a high shelf, but that's not the point.) No, it won't. He's still going to want to get into the areas in which he's forbidden, precisely because he's forbidden. But, if we're smart and do fun things that continue to change the contents of his drawers on a regular basis, then we can potentially distract him a little bit easier.

But I digress.

If you're talking with a new parent, please be careful about what you say to them. "Your life is over!", while technically true, is not a nice thing to say. It turns things into immensely negative events. Instead, say something along the lines of, "When they start to walk, look out! The excitement really begins!"

It's a lot nicer.

The Boy started crawling forward very well yesterday. I mean, he's still belly-dragging army crawling, but he's moving forward with intent. The excitement is truly beginning.

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