Baby Proofing: The Story of a Fallacy

I can’t help but think that the term “baby proofing” is really just a fallacy. What it should really be called is, “Your Kid’s Not All That Safe, But Thanks For Trying.”
Our house is a ticking time bomb of danger for Man.  He seems to find everything about the house thrilling and exciting, while I have come to find it scary and foreboding.  At the beginning of his 6th month I took the “experts’” advice, something I often hesitate to do, and crawled around the room pretending to be my baby.  I got down on my belly and military-crawled it across the floor GI Jane style*. (I considered shaving my head for the role like Demi Moore did… but only for a second.)  At that time, Man wasn’t quite crawling, but he got around pretty well by doing the inchworm.  Not much trouble he could get into, I thought. Only the things on the floor were fair game; wall sockets had to be covered and some electronics moved to higher ground. We painstakingly installed a gate at the top of the steps, fiercely marking it with hazard lines so as not to walk right through this foreign piece of hardware.  (This initially seemed like overkill. We would soon find out that it was not.)

At the beginning of his 7th month I decided to do my little exercise again, this time crawling on all fours.  Again, not too much potential trouble; we would have to put some foam on the sharp corners but all in all it seemed pretty safe. Besides, he hadn’t been irreparably harmed so far, right? 

What I apparently had forgotten to anticipate was that not only would he soon crawl, but also he would start kneeling, sitting up, pulling up, standing… A week after my second round of baby proofing he discovered the lower shelf of the changing table.  I came out of the bathroom to find diapers and wipes strewn everywhere, and Man somehow ON the shelf, happily sucking on the end of a tube of diaper rash cream (the crimped end thank goodness).  How did he learn this? Am I watching too many Bear Grylls videos with him nearby? 

My baby proofing strategy also did not foresee that he would enjoy squeezing into spaces that would be uncomfortable even for a Chihuahua. He loves the space between our shower and sink; he thinks the space next to the refrigerator is fascinating, and he’s practically built a nest in the space between the wall unit and the wall.

His new daily occupation is finding trouble in areas of the house that were unreachable the day before. He recently added to his repertoire of tricks: standing at the dog’s food and water bowl and splashing around; I found this adorable at first, until I realized he liked eating the dog food as much as he enjoyed the splashing.  Even today, I looked down to answer a text and by the time I was finished Man had managed to get himself into a cabinet…and pull out the flour…and dump it on the floor… and then make it into a paste in his mouth (maybe he was telling me he was ready for playdough?).  I couldn’t help thinking that even after moving it to the third shelf, “Oooops, I thought I had baby proofed that cabinet!” 

*Blogger’s note: Incidentally, this is also a good way to find long lost items stuck in random never-seen places within your home. 

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Ooooops, I thought that cabinet was baby proofed...

2 thoughts on “Baby Proofing: The Story of a Fallacy

  1. Loved this post! Very entertaining! My son used to love throwing things in the toilet. The only thing that worked was to close every bathroom door. Until he learned to open them. Or to put on those door knob covers. Until he learned to open the door with them…or take them off. If only we could engage the minds of toddlers in developing baby proofing gadgets that actually work!

    • Thanks Wendy!! Man loves the toilet too!! He thinks it’s his own personal pool!! Thank goodness he is still at that stage where he can’t open doors!! (Though of course we are forever forgetting and leaving the door open…)

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