Friday, 28 November 2008

Watch Your Step, And Theirs

I have found the cycle of baby proofing, toddler proofing and then retiring these precautions as they become obsolete very interesting.

Like when you have a new born there are really no extra precautions you need to take, because they cannot move an inch, as much as they try to.

When Max’s cot was built, not by me, but by a competent person, I thought they had made a gross error.

There was no way that the mattress was at the right height, it was no more than lipped by the sides of the cot.

But I soon learnt that the competent person, was indeed that, and that babies do not jump around very much.

Then they can roll over, so you need to move things out of roll reach.

Crawling requires a new level of small item removal, and then there is the whole grabbing things to pull themselves up phenomenon.

Probably a good time to start sticking those plastic inserts into the plug sockets.

Stair gates serve great purpose, and not just on stairs. I used one on the kitchen door when Max was approximately between one and two years.

The reasons were two fold, to keep him out while I was cooking, and to keep him from the cooker while it was on.

I know a kid that used a hot oven door for the getting oneself into the vertical game, and due to the fact that they hold their weight against the object they use, this was not a good idea at all.

When we lived in a small bungalow, while our house project was going on, the use of stair gates was limited to the travel one, during stays at others who were lucky enough to have a flight of stairs.

And as Junior’s competence at using the apple and pears increased, that use diminished to zero.

However hot on the heels of his clumsy day earlier this week he gave me a bit of a shock, and I am currently re-appraising the whole situation again.

During the night, or the early hours of the morning, it is not unusual for my son to have a wander to my room for a snuggle and snooze with his daddy.

A couple of times this week he has hot-footed, or more cold-footed, into my pit at around 6:00 - 6:30, nuzzling up to me for sixty minutes or so before we physically get up for the day.

It has never really worried me, in fact I have actually enjoyed it this week.

But one of the nights, he did it a little earlier.

If he ever does this it is because he needs a little comfort, or is not feeling himself, I think.

Colds, or if he has gone to bed a little unhappy perhaps.

He woke me as he was making his way to my bed, I sat up, startled a bit, as I was unsure exactly what had woken me to begin with.

I quickly remembered I was a parent, and then focused on my three-foot bundle of joy cutting a mazy route to my room.

There is effectively a small corridor from my bedroom door, past our others, to Max’s at the other end of the house.

He also has to come past the stairs.

Not usually a problem.

But this time, he was half-asleep and clearly confused.

I think he may even have thought I was still downstairs, doing my jobs.

He wobbled, sleepy eyed, dangerously close to the top of the staircase, until I shouted him.

It was in enough time for him to safely amend his direction of travel, and in a few moments he was in my bed.

A few moments more and he was sound asleep again.

I however was tachycardic for a few moments, before I spent the next few hours worrying about my wilful neglect of my child’s safety.

I know you can not prevent them hurting themselves all the time, I have had enough reminders of that just this week, but I hope that I am providing an environment that there are no serious accidents waiting to happen.

When my child woke for the next day – which seemed about 30 seconds after I had actually got back to sleep – we had a little chat about why he had wandered across the landing.

He did indeed confirm that he thought I would still be downstairs, and was feeling a little poorly.

I told my son that if he is tired or sleepy and needs to come down the stairs, he should call me, or if that does not work, bum-shuffling down the stairs may be a safer approach than the traditional method.

While puzzled, I think he got what I was telling him. And perhaps I was overreacting, I was not fully compos mentis myself as I saw him coming, so he may well have been fully able to make a safe journey to our ground floor.

But just in case I have re-located my travel stair gate, but for now, I am putting my trust in my son and my night-time hearing, of course.



Tismee2 said...

I found that my youngest actually bounces quite nicely down stairs.

I know how you feel though, when he tumbled down it was because he slipped rather than was half asleep. I almost died with fright, but he just picked himself up, and smiled saying 'Oops'.

It wasn't as scary as when he choked on a grape aged 2 on Christmas Eve though. Now even at 6 I cut everything up into tiny pieces for him - I think he may be old enough to do that himself now though - LOL!

If it's not one thing then it's another as they say.

The Grocer said...

Aye, we have a stairgate top & bottom which whilst keeping the kids safe inevitably means trying to lift the bottom of the bottom gate whilst carrying four empty bottles, two cups or a large pile of ironing.

Mama Nabi said...

It's amazing how much of a light sleeper I've become since becoming a mother. In a way, I'm thankful that LN and I moved to one-level apartment and allowed the ex to keep the house with stairs. Turns out LN is a bit of a sleepwalker sometimes. The gate might allow you to sleep more soundly... don't you think?

pisceshanna said...

Hey I found your blog off of Glad to see another fellow blogger!

Kerrie said...

My daughter (now almost 15) is a sleep walker, not so much any more but regularly when she was younger. It seemed to happen when she was overtired and couldn't settle into deep sleep.

We used to have an open plan home, we both had bedrooms upstairs, she had the master bedroom and my bedroom was on the mezzanine level. I was sitting downstairs one evening watching television when I saw her at the top of the stairs, foot poised to take the first was quite apparent she was sleepwalking.

I have never climbed those stairs as quickly as I did that night but also didn't want to rush at her for fear I would frighten her and she would tumble down.

After that I put a safety gate, with large bells attached on her bedroom gave me some peace of mind as the few times she did negotiate the gate I woke when I heard the bell.

Scary stuff...hope it doesn't happen again for you and Max.

Penelope said...

I didn't child proof my house at all when my children were little, except for stair gates. I didn't cover plug sockets or lock cupboards. I just said no in a way they knew I meant it and we all got along fine without any trouble. *Of course*, my daughter started sleep walking long after the stair gates were taken down, but thankfully she didn't ever fall or hurt herself at all. She used to scare the crap out of me when she just showed up in my room though!

Roads said...

Yes, it's scary. When you've worked offshore as I have, then you quickly identify just how many potential accident sites there are in the home.

We used to have evacuation drills sometimes when the kids were small. Call me overcautious, but it seemed really important that the children knew how to get out if ever there was a fire.

But returning to your story, I wonder just how many parents have been seriously injured, tripping over the stair gates?

Beth in CA said...

Isn't amazing how you can go from sound asleep to heart-thumpingly awake based on the tiniest sound or disturbance from our wee ones (my son is just a few months younger than Max and my daughter is 18 months)? I do think that being somewhat asleep actually protects the kids a bit as their bodies react naturally without their brains getting in the way trying to catch them from a fall. Nevertheless, I hope you don't have any more middle of the night surprises!

PS the "CA" in my name is California, not Canada...I realized that commenting outside the US might create a little confusion there...

Single Parent Dad said...

Tismee - Bouncing, there's an idea.

The Grocer - A danger in itself.

Mama Nabi - I know, I can here Max breath sometimes, and not even when he has a cold.

Pisceshanna - Welcome, do hang around.

Kerrie - Hearing the bells would scare me half to death.

Penelope - I did some child proofing but not a great deal. Radiators are hot, I'd rather Max learn that than think he's in a ultra safe environmentm and pay no attention to his own well being.

Roads - I have an escape plan mapped in my head, with alternate routes. I'm sure as Max gets a bit older I'll show it to him and also where I keep the front door keys.

Beth in CA - I agree falling in an asleep state is probably the best way to do it.

I guessed CA was the West coast of America rather than the homeland of Terence and Phillip.

Jody said...
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