As new mothers, we have all asked ourselves am I doing too little or too much to protect my child from dangers that lurk. From the moment we bring our little bundles home everything must be just right, from the temperature in the room to the detergent used on a blanket. We wash our hands and our home incessantly. Then as the time goes on our fear of every possible bad thing starts to fade a little and by the time baby number two comes along most of the rules that everyone must obey or be banned from the kingdom are soon abandoned.
I admit to being a bit pretentious at times as a designer and have never really fancied a baby gate or anything else visually inhibiting. I committed to the tedious task of following my little ones everywhere they went or when I really needed to get something done confined them to baby jail for a half hour. I believe its formal name is the play pen. I thought this was a far better negotiation of time than nagging my husband to patch the holes we had in the wall from attaching the gate to begin with. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment in some shape or form. My friends would always ask me why I hadn’t baby proofed my home. The question I always had was is one choice better, easier or best for the child?
From my own experience being the baby patrol had its benefits. Besides being tired beyond belief , over time it proved a worthy cause. My little ones learned to listen to my voice without me having to count to three and I believed they learned to trust me. With a multitude of instruction came the understanding from them very early that I was protecting them.
An example of this would be when my then 2-year-old daughter would be running down the driveway the moment she heard mommy yell stop, she immediately halted, took a pause, then turned and ran in the opposite direction. I didn’t have to count to three or anything, she just listened. Imagine having her run down the street towards a car and I had trained her not to respond until I counted to three? The results really could have been tragic. I had really old school parents and maybe some of that has rubbed off on me a bit with my three children. Their word was all that there was no questioning or negotiation. I believe I used some of this method with my mini me’s and have seen the payoff in how much respect my children have for others and for their parents even as the teenagers they are now.
I guess it really isn’t about baby safety or gates obviously but not having those things forced me to be that final word without negotiation very, very early in their lives. It was more work in the beginning but a lot less work later on, and it allowed me to keep my living room pretty and uncluttered and that’s a win ,win if you ask me!