Tuesday, March 10, 2015

There's an ugly side to raising kids

There is an ugly side to raising kids. I'm not talking about the occasional lack of sleep or temper tantrums or dealing with more poop. For all the crappy stuff about being a parent there are so many more wonderful things. It's the best job I've ever had including the one where I got paid to hang out with my then boyfriend although that one also started early, got paid little, and dealt with more toilet things. Ever have to paint around a junior high boys' urinal? I have, multiple. Everyone knows those aren't the neatest of kids.  Stay at home moms complaining about how tough they have it are just as annoying as working moms complaining about never having time. And nobody cares how much sleep you are getting besides maybe the people you live with and even that's questionable.

No, I'm talking about the ugliness of child proofing.  And not being able to decorate any surface less than 3 feet off the ground.  You might think you'll be able to just teach your kids not to touch certain things and to stay out of drawers and cabinets. And maybe the odd kid can learn that at a young age. Your kid probably won't be the 1 in a million that will do that. So despite whatever you thought pre-kids, at some point when you have a crawler or walker you begin to accumulate all those nifty gadgets that keep kids out of, well everything.  It started with a baby gate and outlet covers. Then cabinet locks, then more cabinet locks, then drawer locks, then another baby gate....at this point Luke has free access to two rooms of our house and pretty much can only get into his toys.  It's not pretty but it sure saves a lot of stress and frustration and broken items. I can now go to the bathroom without worrying Luke will cut his fingers off in those two minutes.  And that peace of mind is priceless. 

Most of our drawers and lower kitchen cabinets have locks.  Although the little stinker has figured out how to stick his tiny hand in and get out things like highlighters (which are pretty washable) and pencils.   His two favorite activities while I bake are eating frozen blueberries (approved) and "color color" on the kitchen counter with pens, pencils, and highlighters (disapproved).  But both of those are much better than playing with the microwave, another favorite kitchen pastime of his.  (I've just found appliance locks on Amazon...think we're buying one of those soon before he blows up the house.)

I don't worry about him on the stairs anymore and occasionally let him play upstairs on his own while I'm downstairs.  Sometimes we just need a break from each other sooner than Daddy is getting home.  He mostly does ok until he remembers how much he loves the chapstick I keep on my nightstand and (apparently) how delicious it tastes (it hidden out of his reach now).  But besides that, I don't worry about him falling down the stairs and there isn't much breakable in our room.  However, the baby gate to this part of the house still stays closed most of the day since he has a new found interest in the toilet and toilet paper.  Not using the toilet (although we are working on that), but putting tiny shreds of toilet paper into the toilet and sometimes playing in the water.  The gate has to stay shut for that. 

And then this gate.  It started on my first day home with Luke post surgery (about 48 hours post surgery).  He was playing with something he shouldn't have in there, I went to stop him, tripped, and fell flat on my face on the bamboo floor.  After a small pity party for myself, I got to my knees and drug our coffee table and the storage ottoman with his diapers and wipes into the doorway.  Once I could walk we tried to leave it open again but that lasted about ten minutes.  I bought this gate on our first Target trip, post crutches.  And it's worked really well.  There isn't a lot breakable within his each but it keeps him out of the shredder, turning on my computer, and away from the paperclips/rubber bands/etc. in my desk.  This may have been the best $40 we've spent since getting Luke. I resisted this one for a long time but it's saved me a lot of frustration which is well worth it.

Having a kid is a wonderful thing.  Our lives two years ago seem so quiet and boring compared to now.  Not everything about being a parent is wonderful but I think pretty much every parent will agree that the good outweighs the bad, most days.  And those little moments when they are perfect or give you unsolicited hugs and kisses?  About the best thing in the world.  Unless he just got done playing in the toilet. 

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