January 19, 2017
I remember carefully unwrapping little plastic outlet plugs, door knob covers, and cabinet locks with my large eight month belly overtaking my lap at my baby shower. Honestly, they are a pretty boring baby gift — kind of like disposable diapers. They aren't cute, they aren't fun, but they simply are an essential item as a parent. And so each time one of my babies moved up in the world, cruising on all fours and creating mischief (oh, how I grieve when they start moving from where I left them), I faithfully pulled out those plastic necessities to keep them safe and my sanity intact.
For my first two children, those safety sanity savers did the job. With my first, I barely even needed them because she was not the curious-danger-to-herself type of a kid. With my second — a rambunctious boy — they definitely were needed. They kept cabinets locked so my Tupperware wasn't on the floor constantly and little fingers from experiencing the jolt of an electrical shock. The door knob locks, however, sat in the dark still in its packaging for five years.
Then came my third child.
My third child has always been a different breed of child compared to my others. She is unique and she is awesome, don't get me wrong! But her independent nature and eagerness to learn this world makes her a danger to herself at times. When she is determined to do something, she does it. She's smart and driven. I keep telling myself it will serve her well one day later in life, but right now? It is frustrating. I cannot keep her out of mischief because she figures all the devices out.
I cannot fully childproof.
There have been times she has snapped open every type of cabinet locks I had on hand. I've mentioned before the time she dumped out every vitamin bottle I owned, colored on the counters, and spilled all my coffee grounds. Yes, that cabinet was locked. It only got worse when she decided to climb out of the crib and it was time for the toddler bed — which meant more freedom. We had to take measures to keep her in and not wander the halls while we slept at night. A baby gate at the door worked with my other kiddos. Of course, not for her. She climbed right over the gaby gate with her tiny but strong ox legs of a two year old. So, we bumped up security to a door knob lock on the inside. You know the kind, the ones that twist around and around unless you know how to squeeze it to turn just the right way. What do you know — that girl busted it open! With a gleeful giggle and quick little thuds of footsteps down the stairs one evening after putting her to bed, she let us know our containment hadn't worked.
We've had to resort to some rather unconventional ways to protect her from herself. I duct tapped the contraption back on, which did the trick for more peace of mind so I could sleep and not worry that my daughter was going to find scissors (also locked up high) and cut our hair in our sleep. Duct tape is our friend. I've also been known to have to duct tape her diaper on when she kept taking it off and using the floor as her diaper. And, I've had to turn zip up pajamas backwards so she'd stay clothed throughout the night and keep her room feces free. I did eventually find cabinet locks that so far a year later she hasn't figured out. Whew. But still, I can't fully childproof. It is impossible because she can outsmart me with just about any typical baby product on the store shelves. I still find her on top of dressers at times (secure those suckers to the wall!) and climbing the pantry shelves to reach the forbidden treats (which, I just had to move to my closet to be out of reach. I'm not complaining).
Please tell me I'm not the only one with a child smarter than me?
The way I see it — life has to happen here, and she'll have to learn not to do some things again. Not to say that I won't do my best to protect her where I can, but I'm not going to hoover over and keep her in a bubble.
After all, she is pretty smart. She'll figure this life thing out.