Thursday, 1 September 2016

Don't Fence Me In

"NO!", I shout for what feels like the hundredth time in the last five minutes.

My daughter has veered away from the oven door, which she had been intent on trying to press her face up against as she admired her own reflection. But she is now charging straight towards the bin with the speed and look of lust of Usain Bolt heading towards a scantily-clad model.

She stops for a moment in surprise, she clearly thought she hadn't been rumbled, and then a cheeky grin creeps across her face as she begins waggling her finger at me and shaking her head.

Her, "No, no, no", gesture is just a meaningless taunt however, as she promptly continues towards the kitchen bin and attempts to dive into it.

Since she became mobile I am fighting a running battle to keep her out of harm's way. And I am losing.

I have not yet got round to properly 'Baby-Proofing' my home. But I am starting to wonder if there is any point. What does 'Baby-Proof' really mean?

I see danger everywhere. Obviously, I can cover the plug sockets to stop her electrocuting herself and fit a stair-gate to stop her plunging headfirst to the bottom.

But how do I stop her slipping and smashing her teeth on the stone floor of the kitchen, or climbing into the washing machine and setting it to spin?

And the trouble is she is able to find danger where I never even imagined it could be.

I thought I had come up with a solution - prison.

The Royale Converta 3-in-1 Play-Pen Gate is basically six stair-gates joined together, and can either form a cage or be attached to walls to trap your baby behind bars, whilst, hopefully, keeping danger out.

But she has realised the restriction of life on the inside and has started throwing horrendous tantrums whenever she is sent to jail, and her anything-but-silent protests are more than I can bear for more than a few minutes.

So I let her roam around behind me while I try to make her meals, turning my head as often as I can without slicing off my fingers or searing my palms, to check what home hazards she has identified next.

If I am lucky she will just have just found the bottle of hand sanitiser I had forgotten was even in my handbag, and hasn't worked out how to get the lid open.

She seems to have relented tugging on the tablecloth that I have pinned in place with bulldog clips, but I'm sure she won't have given up for good.

The radiators hold a particular allure for her, with knobs to twiddle, pipes to bash and casing to try and prise open. But while they are currently relatively harmless, they will soon be potential burn inflictors and so I have tried to convince her that they are out of bounds.

After I chased her away from the oven and the bin, she crawled up to the radiator, stopped and waggled her, "No, no, no", finger at it.

I may have won the battle, but I fear this war has only just begun.

The Secret Diary of Agent Spitback