I am not sure if this is a Latin thing, but I grew up with everyone in my family — and especially my mother — worrying about everything. So when it came to baby proofing our apartment I was a keeper of this tradition of constant worry. Here are a few scenarios on how I drove the hubby crazy: From the day we brought our baby home I had a fan blowing in our rooms for an entire year, because I read somewhere this would help the baby breath fresh, not stale, air. Then there was the beautiful shaggy rug my husband surprised me with when we were newly wed. It simply had to go. It was too shaggy, and I was worried it would fill my precious son’s lungs with furriness. My husband just looked at me with a blank stare on that request. But my mother? She agreed! Rug must go immediately. Hey, I know whom to call when I need support, the person who created my eccentric ways. Yep that is what I’m calling it: Eccentric.
I lost the battle to release the pet turtles (they can carry diseases!) my husband has had for over decade. The pictures of turtles sunning themselves in Central Park did nothing for my cause, as I did not have a good answer for how they would survive winter.
Thankfully my husband is aware of whom he has married and just goes with it. I have a Brazilian friend who told me after her son was born that she worries as much as I do. So maybe we are Latin clichés, I’m not sure. But I do know I have some good tips I have found along the way that you won’t find in books.
1. Replace lock doorknobs with lockless closet knobs My toddler niece who just started walking has learned the art of closing all the doors. The doors automatically lock so her mother changed all door handles. Now the doors are easy to open and the baby cannot accidentally lock herself in.
2. Duct Tape. Use this when nothing else works. When my son started crawling he pulled out all the sharp pins that hold our cable wires down. Duct tape is the only way I can keep the cables — and my son — secure. I also used the tape to secure the cords of the window blinds (somehow my son figured out how to use pillows to remove the “childproof” cord holders). It’s not exactly pleasant to look at but only a short amount of tape is needed and stays put.
3. Designate a pet area Babies love pet food, dog beds and toys, but it’s not a good idea for them to play with — or eat – anything for doggies. Find a secure corner or nook in your home that can be the new pet area. Fido and Oreo need their safe space as well.
4. Diapers for sharp edges: To protect her crawling baby from harm, my good friend Andrea covered the sharp edges of the nursery rocking chair with diapers (clean!), then wrapped them up with silk scarves to prevent any sharp cutting. Pretty scarves make the look tolerable.
5. Travel with outlet covers Some toddlers just ignore the outlets, but mine gravitated to them. I have learned that all hotels or homes we visit don’t have their outlets covered. So, I've traveled with a handful of them, so I easily made any room we used safe.
6. Earthquake straps to bolt into walls Many Californians know about these, because it is a necessity there, but they are also useful in earthquake-free areas to protect kids. If you have heavy furniture or frames that need extra support, these straps can hold up to 1000 pounds.
I really had to get over the aesthetic of what some of this out-of-box baby proofing can look like. My motto now is, if it keeps baby safe then I am for it. It’s only for a few years, and this is one of those areas that whatever baby wants baby can’t get. If this mom has anything to do with it.
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