You never quite realize how dangerous your home is until you have a child. Once your kid gets mobile, perfectly innocuous things that seemed safe for years will become booby-trapped death machines.
The furniture you’ve had for years, drawers you haven’t even opened in months, the stuff you’ve lost beneath, between and behind your couch? None of it is safe. The kid will find it – every jagged, swallow-able, poisonous bit of it – and he will find a way to use it, as a weapon, on himself. Seriously: babies should be hired to brainstorm for the military; the unique ways they have of injuring themselves have to be use-able in combat.
They are like little MacGyvers of pain.
My baby is no different. He is a Jedi of self-infliction. And he must be stopped. We must baby-proof!
To that end, after a few months of shrieking, screaming and collecting suspicious looking bruises (he beats himself, I swear!), I found myself at the store browsing all the different baby-proofing equipment, much of which looks suspiciously like re-purposed post-9/11 survival kits and doesn’t seem very effective.
Rather than spend hundreds of dollars on stuff that amounts to little more than Styrofoam and duct tape, I started considering burning all of our furniture and moving to the countryside just to protect my offspring. Correction: first, I did spend tons of cash on all the expensive, ineffectual crap and then, after none of it worked and my kid’s face ended up looking like Jared Leto at the end of Fight Club, that’s when I started looking for a soft, weapon-free environment to house my family. My wife is keen on yurts.
(Unfortunately we haven’t yet been able to locate a yurt that doesn’t make me hate myself.)
We spent Labor Day weekend at my parents – a domicile even less equipped to handle the presence of a completely oblivious, totally reckless pain-magnet that is a one-year-old boy – and by the time we got back home to Brooklyn it looked like we’d been training the kid in MMA. Bruises, scratches and scabs covered his entire body, particularly his face, which – as luck would have it – is the perfect height for banging into every piece of furniture my parents own.
In a long weekend that he spent testing out his newfound ability to pull himself up to his feet via my parents coffee table, the kid took more uppercuts to the chin than Bald Bull did in his entire career. And he’s far from finished.
The fact is, whether we baby-proof or not, he’s gonna find ways to hurt himself. The trick is preventing him from killing himself. After all, a little pain ain’t so bad. Some might say it doesn’t even hurt.
To be honest, so far I think my wife has been doing more crying over the kid’s injuries than he is.