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Meredith Lopez Headshot

The Impossibility of Childproofing

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I find it ironic that in the same week that New York Family ran my piece on childproofing your home, my own son, the Juban Princeling, nearly cut off his own toes with our scissors. The NYF piece is all about childproofing basics for first-time parents, but what the article fails to mention -- fails because of me -- is that no amount of childproofing in the world, not even wrapping your child in bubble wrap with two air holes for breathing, not even bringing in every expert in New York City to give your pad the safety stamp of approval, is a decent substitute for not leaving scissors within reach of your child.

Children, it seems, are hell-bent on self-destruction. They are naturally curious about the world around them, and naturally ignorant of things like sharp objects, electricity, drowning and gravity.

This morning my husband needed the scissors to cut some strips of Velcro for the new screen we've put up in front of our balcony door so that we don't all get eaten alive by mosquitoes this summer. He casually put them down and then asked me to come take a look at his handiwork. So I did. And in doing so I was forced to rip my eyeballs off the Princeling for ONE SECOND, during which time he, of course, found the shiny pretty superawesome Scissors of Impending Toe Amputation. By the time I turned around he was sitting on the floor with the scissors wiiiiiide open and his little piggies wiggling happily between the Blades of Horror. I screeched so suddenly and so loudly that he cried.

So, let's review. In the span of just five seconds, I:

  • Nearly let my 20-month old son cut off his own toes, and
  • Scared the crap out of him.

Mother of the Year Committee, are you paying attention?

I scooped him up to console him, but for those of you playing at home you know that he wasn't having any of that. So I tossed him onto our bed and tickled him until he was red-faced and breathless.

Now, can you imagine this particular trip to the emergency room?

"How exactly did your son lose his toes?"

"He cut them off with scissors."

"And why was he playing with scissors?"

"Because I am too stupid to live."

"Mrs. Lopez, I'm going to have to call Child Services."

"Yes doctor, that's probably for the best."

Sadly, this happened only on a Wednesday morning and yet it wasn't even the first instance where my son gave me a heart attack with his antics. At the rate we're going I'm going to need a pacemaker before he's in kindergarten.

Yesterday in the drugstore I had the Princeling parked quite happily in his stroller in the baby aisle (FYI: they do not sell actual babies there) while I perused the diapers for the brand I had so meticulously researched as having the best leak protection (diaper leaks and pee-soaked clothes are a whole other kettle of fish in our house lately). Suddenly I heard a "Pssssst!" sound come from his direction. When I turned around he had somehow picked up an open can of self-tanner that someone had carelessly left IN THE BABY AISLE and was happily spraying it into his mouth. Since he is too young to think to himself, "I really wish my six teeth had the healthy glow of a native Brazilian," there was just no wholesome reason why he should have been spraying self-tanner into his mouth. And also: HE IS 20 MONTHS OLD! AND HE WAS SPRAYING SELF-TANNER INTO HIS MOUTH LIKE IT WAS BREATH-FRESHENER!!!!!

And this wasn't even our only incident of that day!

Later at home, as I ran his bath, the Princeling leaned over and stuck his hand into the water, as he is wont to do lately, as if to make sure the Bath Slave (me) isn't making it too hot or too cold for the Royal Toushie. Then, with his hand nice and dripping wet, he toddled off into his room and attempted to unplug his white noise machine and stick his (WET!) hand into the electric socket.

Jeebus flippin' leapfrog, there was not enough booze in the world to calm me down from that one.

Thankfully I followed him, because I've met him before and the Princeling alone in a room is a recipe for disaster, and so I caught him before he managed to unplug anything. But I couldn't push aside the mental image of knocking him aside with a wooden broom handle as his hair stands up and his insides fry.

Of course good parents know to never, ever leave a little one alone near any water, but it should also be noted that if said little one has touched the water, you need to follow them. You know, in case they try to electrocute themselves afterword.

And here my husband thinks I drink too much, to which I say: in light of all of this -- all of which happened in the span of less than 24 hours -- I don't think I drink enough to de-stun my nerves back into submission. I have to go lie down now.

Around the Web

Childproofing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Childproofing around the house | BabyCenter

How to Childproof Your Home - Goodhousekeeping.com

Childproofing and Preventing Household Accidents

Childproofing Products & Child Safety Information - TotSafe - IS ...

Child-Proof House : Discovery Health