Monday, October 17, 2005


If you are pregnant or are thinking of becoming a parent, my latest tidbit of advice is to go ahead and start the babyproofing process now. One reason is that you will likely be so tired from chasing around your crawling child that you will be in no shape to meet the physical challenges that babyproofing requires, and the other is that it's a nice test to see if, in fact, you are even remotely mentally well enough to be a parent. Unfortunately, I discovered that I am not. It would probably have been nice to have this information, say, 18 months ago, but for now I'll just say this was an enlightening mental health exploration and will deal with it when I can--perhaps when Davis goes off to college.

I divided the house into zones for babyproofing, all based on potential hazards: there are the Not to be Chewed (books, electrical cords), the Not to be Climbed Into (oven, fridge, toilet), the Not to be Pulled (cords again, the coffee table, one drawer that can be very pinchy) and the Not to be Eaten (chemicals, cat poop, soiled diapers). Many of these were easy to deal with--I moved chemicals to top shelves in the kitchen, boxed up a couple shelves of books and put them, the coffee table and the litter box upstairs in the attic (which was fine with the cats, since that's where they now spend most of their time anyway) and installed locks on the fridge, oven, and pinchy drawer. We will install a toilet lock later to avoid being able to answer questions like "so can you really flush a whole family of Transformers and a fleet of matchbox cars together?" but for now, if I'm still changing diapers, the bathroom is still officially a limited-access top clearance zone.

No problem so far, right? Sanity? Still relatively intact.

The problem came when I attempted to secure the computer-desk area of the living room. Since I've blogged previously about the Desi-and-Lucy smallness of the bedrooms here, it probably won't surprise you to know that our apartment falls rather short of being on the razor's edge of the Digital Age. As in, none of our outlets will accomodate a power strip and there are maximum 4 outlets per room. This is good if you are worried about little fingers getting into outlets, but bad if you want to run a CD player, phone charger, printer, computer speakers, TV, VCR, DVD player and a couple of laptops and lamps in the same room. Did I mention our DVD player has surround sound, which requires no less than 5 speakers?

As you have no doubt deduced, this made for a LOT of wires to be secured. Which meant hammering lots of cable-clamping thingies. Which meant a lot of cursing. Which meant I had to ask Daddy to take the baby out so my son's first word wouldn't be an unsavory description of someone's mother. Which of course meant my son leaked through his cloth diaper, onesie and overalls while on the 20-minute trip to Wal-Mart. Which meant daddy had to call, frantic, to ask where in the car the spare diapers and changes of clothes were. Which led me to recall that I hadn't bothered to put a spare change of clothes in the car for my son since the summer, and it was now 40 degrees. Which meant my son came home freshly clad in a disposable diaper, short-sleeved onesie, sock and shoes and a jacket. No pants. *sigh*

The other thing babyproofing did for me was to remind me what an incredibly sloppy housekeeper I am. I found a Frito that I'm pretty sure was older than the cats. It was rolling around with its friends the Dustbunnies, Random Grit and Dead Bugs (that sounds like a punk-band fesitval roll call, doesn't it? "And noooow, opening for headliners Grody Crap on My Floor, it's the Dustbunnies!!"). In a word: Ew. I used to be so clean! I used to have a cleaning schedule! Now I'm just trying to keep one step ahead of the dirty mess that is my house.

But at least I now have a small and very cute companion. That kinda trumps everything.