Dear Natalie: Week 43

Dear Natalie,

This week we baby-proofed the house.

Challenge accepted, I hear you say.

You are systematically testing the defenses of absolutely everything. We bought gates to stop you from climbing and/or falling down the stairs, and you grab the bars and attempt to rip them down. Or maybe you’re dancing; it’s hard to tell sometimes. We bought locks for all of the kitchen cabinets, and you tug at them with all your might. Your dad did an amazing reorganization of the family room and moved all of the various cords, cables, and electronic things out of your reach…and you stand on tiptoe until your fingers graze the edge of something very interesting and you screech in frustration that you can’t grab it.

I don’t know why anyone would hire a professional to come to their house and tell them what to baby-proof. You don’t need a professional; you need a baby. I’m considering renting you out to expectant parents to help them in their baby-proofing, because you, my dear, are thorough. You seek out every remote control, every scrap of paper that has escaped from the recycling bin, every sharp corner in the room, and anything else in a 10-foot radius that you’re really not supposed to have with the same unerring precision as a guided missile.

We have two baby jails: a pack ‘n play in the kitchen and a play yard for the family room. We really only use these when we have to, because you much prefer to be a free-range baby (and that’s what we prefer, too). Sometimes, however, it’s necessary. For instance, you’re quite the helper these days, especially in the kitchen. I’m not quite sure that a baby climbing in the dishwasher is either healthy or sanitary, though, so you’re temporarily sentenced to baby jail. You also quite enjoy racing towards the cat food bowls. I think you’d probably eat the food but you haven’t been fast enough (yet).

Sometimes a necessary situation is when my back is aching from picking you up every thirty seconds and moving you away from something potentially hazardous to your health and the time until your next nap stretches ahead of us like a desolate, deserted highway. On days like that it’s a complete sanity-saver to have a safe place where I can put you for 10 minutes while I sit just a few feet away and enjoy a small snack that I don’t have to share with you, and you chatter quietly to Sophie the giraffe.

You’re so much fun right now and so very, very busy. Testing the household defenses is exhausting work, and you’re extremely dedicated.

But so am I. And as tired as I am at the end of the day from retrieving you, redirecting you, and trading you a baby toy for the dirty shoe that’s captured your fancy over and over and over again, it’s completely worth it.

So bring it on, baby girl. I’ll take whatever you can throw at me, and I mean that quite literally: you’ve got quite an arm for flinging sweet potato fries.

Love always,


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