Due to Extenuating Circumstances

Adventures in Unplanned Parenthood


Attention! Due to extenuating circumstances, the following protocol is in place; nothing the baby can get to is safe, either for the baby or the object in question. The following things are now regarded  as extremely perilous: pennies, pens, TV trays, hair bands, anything sharp, anything metal, anything plastic, anything with a plastic bag/wrap/overlay, anything on the floor that can be swallowed, anything removed from the floor that can fall on to the floor, anything that’s not floor related but still adheres to essential gravitational physics, anything used for housecleaning, a dirty house, an old house, a new house, my house, your house, home school, pre-school, night school, eating, not eating, and the cat.

It’s impossible to childproof a house. It is literally, using that word correctly and deliberately, NOT POSSIBLE. How do I know this? Because we have done nothing this past weekend but try to make this house a safer environment for the baby and I can assure you I now live in the least safe house in America. There are people squatting in abandoned scythe factories and asbestos warehouses that are in a better position to guarantee my child’s safety.

First we started with the outlet covers. We got the fancy ones that slide over the unused sockets. The baby regards these as a triple pleasure. He gets to slide things (motion!), try to stick his finger in the opening (entertaining!) and listen to me shout “NO! NOT A TOY.” (attention!). That’s nothing compared to the baby gate. Mac screwed one into the wall, then made a special opening at the side so the cat can go downstairs to his litter box. This gate has it all. It has mystery (“what’s down there?”), comedy (watch mommy try to work the finicky lever!) and pathos (“why, oh why won’t daddy take me past the gate?”). It’s like dinner theatre for the under 1 crowd.


This is nothing compared to securing the cabinets. I have turned cabinet security into more than a DIY project. In all modesty, I can say I blew right through DIY and home maintenance cliché straight into post modern art. I tried to attach one plastic security spring onto my bathroom cabinet door. It was obvious the previous homeowners also had kids, I could see the remaining screw marks and plastic barrier meant to keep the spring secure until your finger pushes it down. It took me 20 minutes to install one plastic latch. It lines up with the barrier, but I can’t get it to latch. It just sticks out, completely useless, hitting the barrier over and over. If it does go under the latch, it’s so low it doesn’t catch. Behold, the phases of my useless childproof latch.


So Mac got the fancier magnetic locks. This shall be saved for another time I need to write about pulling out my own hair and slowly eating it while I rock back and forth, singing nursery rhymes to myself.

In the meantime, I am on full Floor Patrol Alert. I encounter a lot of cat hair on my beat. As the baby butt scoots along, he often finds these fluffy wads wafting by, and will stick out a moist hand to capture a few little tufts to snack on. Cotton candy will never look right to me again after picking up wet strands of cat hair my son has tried to let melt on his tongue. I thought this meant he was hungry for fingerfoods, so I got him fancy “melt in your mouth” puffs. I was afraid the generics wouldn’t be melty enough so I went for name brand, recognizable Advertised Brand of puffs. The bad news is that the baby couldn’t care less. I showed him over and over how fun the puffs could be if he would let those melt in his mouth instead of the cat hair. The good news is, I now have a delicious and portable melt-in-my-mouth snack anytime I want to treat myself. I’m partial to the blueberry ones.

In the meantime, we have more than enough to be getting on with as far as floor cleanup. I never realized how many things fall on the floor everyday. Gravity is stronger in the Borden household than it was this time last year. Naturally, the things most likely to roll and fall (coins, those funny lipbutters in the egg shape that are trendy, grapes, breath mints) are exactly the size and shape of a baby’s windpipe. Mother Nature could have done all humankind a solid and made our windpipes a hexagon, or octagon, anything with some damn corners. But no. The human windpipe is fragile, round, easy to put things into and absolutely necessary for survival. Thanks, bitch.

So, we’ll take awhile longer to make la casa de Borden safer for its smallest occupant. Until we iron out the wrinkles the baby will be followed as much as possible and I’ll keep screaming “NO! NOT A TOY!” I have to swallow first though, these puffs make me thirsty.

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