More Than We Bargained For by Heather Bowles

Do any of you have stairs in your home? Or were you smart enough to decide when you purchased a home that on the off chance that someday you were a parent you might not want to be tromping up and down stairs seventeen times a day with an infant in your arms? I was accident prone when all I had to carry around was my own body. Now I have this helpless, but ever more weighty, little being that depends on me to see to her safety also, and it’s driving me up a wall. I was a teacher in the before times, when it was just us two. There are pencils, and pens, and markers and craft paper, and ribbons, and all manner of coins, dice, pennies and buttons, just baubles really, laying around my house, and she can choke on all of them. I walk around all day picking things up off the floor from the move in, and that was three weeks ago!

Yesterday, she started crawling. Granted, she’s crawling backwards, but she’s not stationary any more. Last night, I laid her on a play mat that had an archway over it that you can hang little tag toys from, and the only thing that stopped her from taking off across the living room floor was that she got hung up on the archway. She backed into it, and because it was behind her, and between her legs, she couldn’t figure out which way to roll away. It was the funniest thing ever. I put her back on the middle of the mat, and she did it again! What are the odds?

So yeah. It’s official. I can’t let her out of my sight now.  I need someone to come over just to do laundry, because I’m afraid to turn my back on her. I guess I’ll be trying out the Pack and Play today and putting it to work. It seems a shame to limit her to such a small space, but with the stairwell as it is, I can’t imagine putting her down anywhere else. I can’t keep her confined to a swing all day, and if I leave her upstairs, she’s bound to stick something in her mouth, or fall down the stairs, or any number of things. Get trapped in a box I haven’t finished unpacking, break her gums open on a clothes hanger… the nightmares of could be’s are endless. Raising this child has turned out to be far more complicated than I imagined it would be.

Her father is wonderful with her, but I don’t think he lives in the same state of panic and worry that I do. I almost want to hire a sitter for a couple evenings, just so I can do the basic housekeeping that needs to be done to assure myself she’s not going to shove an earring in her mouth, or find the one marble that spilled behind the bed when I was putting the jar on the top shelf in the closet. Were you prepared for these things when you brought your child into your world? Does the worry ever go away? One of these nights, I’d like to not wake up in a panic.

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  1. 3 Responses to “More Than We Bargained For by Heather Bowles”

  2. We moved ourselves into our new 2-story home one month after having my son by C section–exhausting to be surrounded by boxes and piles and a baby who kept me awake, since his naptimes were my unpacking times. Once he became mobile, a baby gate prevented his access to the stairs at the top. As I unpacked, I also decluttered the floor and areas where he could reach things. I got used to working on the house level he was happy exploring…then when he crawled towards the stairs ready for a change in scenery, I’d carry him and we’d go up or down and he’d explore the new level while I worked on shoulds there. It worked. He’s a robust 8 year old now– although there are CDs that are still missing from his crawling period when he would take apart our entire CD collection. Luckily you can’t swallow a CD! Babyproof, but don’t go crazy– you’ll get to know if your baby is crazy adventurous or just curious and babyproof accordingly. New boxes of tissues BTW are wonderful baby toys, he loved pulling out all the tissues into a huge pile. You learn to accept a certain level of “collateral damage”, too. Remember to take cute photos and breathe! Good luck :)

    By Iris on Sep 23, 2012

  3. We put baby gates at both the top AND bottom of the stairs so that when we were upstairs, I felt safe tending to things, knowing my son was confined, and the same for downstairs.

    Baby proofing is a fact of life, but as Iris mentioned, certain drawers or cabinets were a constant interest to my son, so we had them baby proofed, yet other areas, such as our cabinet underneath our upstairs bathroom had never been of any interest to my son, even to this day. So I never bothered baby proofing it.

    One thing I used to do while going up or down our stairs in a zombie state, holding my son when he was a baby, was to lean on the wall side of the stairs, if you have one, to guide you as you took each step. I felt more secure knowing that a wall was there to lean on if I felt woosy from lack of sleep. Hope these tips help…:)

    By Cara Meyers on Sep 24, 2012

  4. I’m looking for a good top of the stairs gate now. It has to be tall enough that she’ll not climb over it, because I only want to buy one, and I’m done. Replacing stuff like that as she grows is not cost effective, so I need to do it right the first time. Any suggestions, ladies?

    By Heather on Sep 25, 2012