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Jul 18, 2009

Send Help

Again, my friends of the internets, I must ask for your help. What I’m about to ask falls squarely in that well-known category called “Seriously? They’re going to let you be a doctor?” How else will I learn if I don’t ask?

I need to Colin-proof my house and I’m at a loss. We have the requisite plug covers and basement stair deterrent, but what we really need is a way to get him to be more interested in his toys, which are in some abundance, and less interested in, say, the dog food bowl. Allow me to tell you a story to illustrate the problem.

This morning, we were approaching morning naptime and so things were a little tenuous, as they tend to be when babies grow weary. Colin and I were playing a passive-aggressive control battle over what he would play with. I offered singing plastic keys, stuffed animals, plastic balls, and a plastic xylophone. He insisted that the only thing that was even remotely interesting was the stereo system, DVD player, and, most of all, the DVDs in the drawers below the electronics. He was especially fond of pulling the drawers in and out, and who can blame him?

As you probably know, one can only pull drawers in and out so many times before one’s fingers are smashed in the closing drawer. It’s a matter of statistics; it will happen eventually. And happen it did. Colin was clearly unhappy about this, crying and glaring at the drawer, but his frustration was made worse by the fact that I, his mean and cruel mother, would no longer allow him to play with the drawer. He was so offended by my intrusion into his play that he threw himself forward in protest – and neatly connected his forehead with the edge of the table on which the TV sits. Oh, the crying! And the screaming! And the flailing about madly! Because this more recent and clearly more painful injury was MY fault, as it would not have happened had I not interfered in his business.

Yes. Not altogether unusual for a nine and 1/2 month old, but frustrating and annoying (not to mention painful for him) nonetheless. So, what do I do about this? How are you supposed to keep babies interested in their own stuff and out of yours? And, if your answer is what I suspect, which is to monitor them at all times and constantly offer them their own stuff, WHEN ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO GO TO THE BATHROOM?

4 Readers rock!:

barrie said...

Well I'm sure you know what I am going to say ;-) Babies just aren't that different than dogs so make the off limits stuff actually off limits so he can't OPEN the drawer and GET frustrated and then his singing keys will seem a LOT more interesting to him and dog bowls need to be gathered up when not in use, etc. I've now managed to raise two puppies with not a single item in the house being chewed even a little bit! Unfortunately you can't put a baby in a crate when you need to go to the bathroom though...that has always been my problem with the concept of having them :-D
Love to Myra, Sally and the kitties!!!

XE said...

A playpen. That's the only suggestion I have right now, a playpen chock-full of interesting toys so that he can be in a more completely controlled environment when you have to go to the bathroom for 5 minutes (or cook dinner, etc). I work with children and moms all day, maybe some of the parents at work will have some ideas!

Pennsy said...

Ever notice the scar on my nose? It happened the day I learned not to climb up my parent's bookshelf. I'm sure the blow from pulling a piece of furniture down on my two year old face and the stitches hurt at the time, but the memory is gone today. All I know for sure is that I never climbed the shelves again.

You're raising an Irishman, not a gardenia. Let him bang his little hand until he figures it out. Neither of you will be the worse for the wear in the long run.

He'll be putting his hand in more dangerous places than that soon enough.

Grumpy old Mr Bob

Janka said...

Babies and children are, I am afraid, quite often naturally more interested in stuff that adults use than stuff that is just for them. This will serve you fine when they start to be old enough to be taught to be of some help.

Right now, he is too young to really be taught what is off-limits, so you just need to either 1) physically separete him from things he cannot play with, or 2) try and interest him with not toys but real stuff. Is here something, like a wooden spoon, in one of the drawers he is insterested in that he could safely play with? Take it from the drawer, give it to him, and then close the drawer and put a broom trough the pullers so that he cannot open it anymore.