Friday, November 4, 2011

Baby Proofing: What You Won't Learn in Parents' Magazine

We all know the obvious household safety issues involving small children. We keep our cleaning products, medicines and vitamins out of reach of little hands, but there are other things that first-time parents (or second and third-time parents) need to learn the hard way.

Our first son rarely got into anything he shouldn't have. It was our second son that made us take baby proofing to a whole new level. By the time our third son came around, we didn't think we could be surprised anymore. We were wrong.

Most of these things aren't safety considerations. What they are is sanity considerations. As in, your sanity could be greatly compromised if you need to wash a Sharpie marker scribble off the kitchen floor again!
Might want to keep this off the floor through the toddler years. Photo courtesy of Alvimann at Morguefile.
Here's a list of what our little guys and gals would love to get their hands on.

1. Sharpies - Really, really hard, if not impossible, to remove, depending on the surface.
2. Glue
3. Staplers - After buying several new staplers because the resident toddler broke them all, I finally learned to keep it out of reach.
4. Scissors - What has your toddler cut? One of ours cut his hair, the living room curtains and my handmade quilt.
5. Double-sided sticky tape - Even the carpet cleaning pros couldn't get that off my living room rug.
6. Vaseline - Have you ever had to clean gobs of it off a coffee table? What about out of hair?
7. Diaper ointment - See above.
8. Chapstick - Those little tubes are expensive and they get rolled all the way up and broken every time.
9. Lipstick
10. An older sibling's homework - That was not a good night. There were tears. There was screaming. And a lot of scotch tape was used.
11. Dog & cat food - Anyone else's toddler enjoy a snack out of the pet dishes?
12. Telephones - The ease of push button phones makes for a few, random 911 calls. One of my kids did this. We never let any of them play with phones, cell or otherwise, afterwards.
13. Honey - See number 6.
14. Car keys - We had to cancel plans one afternoon because my car keys were M.I.A.
15. Wallets - It's embarrassing to stand at the grocery check out and realize your debit card is not where it should be. If you're lucky, it'll turn up with a frantic search within a few minutes. If not, you'll find it in your couch cushions later in the day.
16. Baby wipes - Not a major inconvenience, but those things are expensive.
17. Checkbook - Keep it out of little hands only if you like to be able to read your ledger.
18. Garbage - This has actually never happened to us, but I've heard of other parents catching their toddler as he pops a tasty morsel from the garbage into his mouth.
19. Bubble stuff - OK, I know this is for the kids. But, whose toddler hasn't dumped an entire new bottle of bubbles on the lawn? If you don't have a spare (which you'll hold this time around), there will likely be tears. Probably from both of you.
20. Your toothbrush - A lot of moms wouldn't mind if their little one used their toothbrush. If it doesn't set off your germaphobe alarm bells, that's fine. Just don't turn your back on him. It may get dipped somewhere else. Like in the toilet. Or the pet's water dish. 

I can laugh about this stuff now. My youngest is 3, almost 4, and isn't as impulsive as he was a year or so ago. Still, I'm not giving him my phone or the stapler anytime soon.

What have your toddlers done?


  1. My two-year-old loves dumping everything out of my wallet! He also likes to unroll entire things of paper towels (we keep them up high now) and toilet paper. I've also been missing my car/house keys since September and am using a spare set. I'm pretty sure they're gone for good. :(

  2. The toilet paper! I forgot about that! We've sacrificed many a roll to an enthusiastic toddler - lol.

    Good luck with your keys. I hope they turn up! My suggestion - get copies made of your spare set!

  3. I'm a nanny of 16 month old twins. I've been with them since they were 3 1/2 months. I cannot get the parents to take baby proofing seriously enough. When people aren't with their kids alone, 9 hours a day, five days a week, they don't tend to empathize with how difficult it is for the person who is. The parents always are together with the kids or have friends and family over in the evening and on weekends. There are times when I don't want to have to be washing dishes, cooking, going to the bathroom, etc, without having to worry about the kids hurting themselves or breaking something. And yes, I've talked to the parents about it. FRUSTRATING! They've baby proofed somewhat, keep telling me they'll do it, but don't. Otherwise, they are a wonderful family to work for. They get a neat and tidy home when they get home and very happy kids.

  4. Anon - I can imagine how busy 16-month old twins are! You are a saint! Happy kids AND a clean house at the end of the day? The parents have a good thing going, if you ask me!