Back 2 the Future: Child-proofing

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Griff Thena Phe recliner3 121605
“Child-proofing” is a term that gives me a good hearty chuckle, like “potty trained.” We child-proofed the heck out of our house when we were expecting the twins. Magnetic locks on all the cabinets, with the magnet stored up high. Gates at the top and bottom of the stairs. Locks on all the door handles, outlet covers out the wazoo, chemicals stored up high (except personal lubricant)… The kids had the run of the living room, kitchen, dining room and hallway, but couldn’t get anywhere else.

That was perfect, until the twins learned to walk.

From: me
Date: 12/20/05 21:09:12
Subject: [Freecycle] ISO baby gates PLEASE!!!

Please, for the love of all that is sacred, if you have a spare baby gate, would you consider giving or loaning it to me?

I have 16-month-old twins and I just cleaned the kitchen trash off the floor for the 9th time today. This is AFTER I taped the lid shut. They just used their twin powers for evil and lifted the lid right off.

We have two gates but they are on the top and bottom of the stairs. I never would have dreamed we’d need to gate them out of every part of the house. Silly me.

So please, I am nearly in tears because they think they are hilarious but I can’t take this anymore! If you have a gate you aren’t using I PROMISE I will return it to you if you can loan it to me. Or maybe I can trade you for something. We just don’t have any $ for gates until at least the new year, and even then… Gates are crazy-expensive.

Thank you in advance!

[Note: The twins thinking they are hilarious frequently coincides with me nearly being in tears. That hasn’t changed in the last four years.]

This post resulted in an intimidating fencing system cobbled together from various semi-broken baby gates. On the plus side, the boys were finally confined to the living room and hallway and were no longer free to roam and plunder the garbage. Sadly, my 3-year-old had to be able to predict her need to urinate in enough time to press the release button – which only sometimes worked – on the hall gate blocking the babies from the kitchen/dining room/bathroom. And my blog is named “Diagnosis: Urine,” so we all know how that worked out for me.

Any good “child-proofing” stories in your past?

Jen is the married work-from-home mother of 7-year-old Miss A, 5-year-old boys G and P, and 3-year-old Haney Jane. She also blogs at Diagnosis: Urine.

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19 thoughts on “Back 2 the Future: Child-proofing”

  1. My child proofing story – only two thirds of our house is “toddler proof” but even our best efforts are to no avail, as my guys constantly find new dangers. I KEEP THEM OUT OF THE KITCHEN. We rarely spend any time in there, its just too dangerous. That means that when I “prep” their meals it is in a big hurry because they are in another part of the house (alone) while I prep. Biggest problem is my husband and I do not agree on how much to “child proof”. I want to go waaay farther with the “proofing” than we have done. For example, we have a tablecloth on the kitchen table – he wants it there, it stays there. Can you say “pulling the cloth off” or “getting the cloth messy”? My advice to those expecting multiples, DISCUSS with your husband in advance how far are you WILLING to go so you’re not cobbling together a strategy later on.

  2. i had to “child-proof” my kitchen cabinets not once, not twice, but THREE times! we were silly in thinking what would work best for a singleton would work fine for twins. who knew the only time they would ever use their wonder twin powers, it would be for evil!?!?! one of my sons has gotten so good at un-childproofing that our friends who have babies will ask to borrow him so they know what to focus on! :)

  3. We currently have our 17 month old twins confined daily in our living room. The super playyard looks fabulous in there, but I’d rather have a trashy looking living room, then all the ornaments thrown off the Christmas tree (which is what happens when they escape from the playyard). I always said I’d never be a parent who used a playyard, but then again, I always said, I’d never have twins. 😉
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Truthful Tuesdays =-.

  4. We keep the twins confined to the living room and use gates at the 2 entrance ways. We have a large playpen where they go when I need to leave the room. We have a play yard that we opened up and is used to protect them from the raised hearth (and other stuff we don’t want them touching). We do not have a gate at the bottom of the steps because of the way the banister and moulding are – any suggestions for a good gate that would work without drilling into the wood? I saw one made for “any stairway” with velcro like straps in one step ahead, but it didn’t seem like it would work for us because of the moulding on the wall.

    We HAD our christmas tree in the living room behind the play yard until the 18 month old Hulk child pulled it down. Somehow, no one was hurt. Now it’s in our dining room.

    No matter how much we child proof and how great we think we did at said child proofing, our children demonstrate daily how futile our attempts are.

  5. I am so glad to hear of other people’s homes being divided up with all sorts of baby gates. People come into my home, take a look at the gates all around the kitchen and kind of just gape at it. Or say, “Huh. We never had to do that with our kids.” Lucky you. We have hotel style door locks on all the exterior doors to prevent any wild escape attempts. My kitchen is open to our dining area and family room and I HAD to find a way to keep my twins out of it. KidCo brand “Configure” gates have saved us! They are wrapped around the kitchen and connected to the counter island. It looks crazy, but it works. We also used another KidCo Configure Gate to block off the stairway since it was an irregular opening that “regular” baby gates wouldn’t block. I’ll ditto the earlier commenter that said pressure gates are a joke with twins. Oh, and for our deck…my husband actually built safety gates for the two sets of stairs on the deck–out of PVC. About $50 worth of materials and since the only deck gates we found to purchase were minimum $80 each, well, the PVC gates look great!!

  6. we have an open floor plan so, unless we get a superyard, keeping them in one area is just impossible. it hasn’t been a problem until recently – they learned how to open the lazy susan which is where I keep all the dry goods – rice, flour, sugar, beans, etc. Obviously, I need to lacth my cabinets but I’m also lazy, so…
    .-= Nicole´s last blog ..They’re Definitely Mine =-.

  7. Wow, I feel much better about our house after reading this post and all the comments. We have 17 month old girls. We, too, divide our [800 square foot] house with gates. It’s a circular floor plan, which I know they would love to run around but we block the hallway, including the bathroom and linen closet, and our bedroom so that we can at least have an area of the house that feels more like “ours” [minus having to go through gates to get to it].

    I know the feeling of people coming over and gawking at the gates but it’s one of those things that really helps keep the sanity around here!

    My other baby proofing trick: using highchairs for containment. It really helps buy me a few minutes to put them in there to prep dinner while they look at books or [gasp] watch Sesame Street.

    Ah babyproofing, it’s such a constant thing isn’t it? If it’s not one thing it’s another. Glad we’re all in this together!

  8. We haven’t had a trash can in our kitchen since the boys could crawl. Just a couple days after becoming semi mobile they joined forces to make sure the trash can was erect for no more than a couple of hours at a time. Since then we’ve entirely removed trash cans from the kitchen and pretty much just take everything outside to the city trash can which thankfully they haven’t been able to tip over. It’s terribly inconvenient but even as they near two years old I don’t see the trash can moving back indoors anytime soon. Funny how things that never came up with my singleton daughter are huge baby proofing conundrums with the boys. I’m just happy the my Christmas tree hasn’t come crashing down.. yet.
    .-= Cristal´s last blog ..Hands are not for stabbing =-.

  9. So not looking forward to this stage. I have an open floor plan so it is difficult to gate rooms off. We’ll see what kind of mischief my babes create when they get mobile.

    Cindy I just ordered something from that protects your banister so you don’t screw directly into it. A bit pricey but they have a 15% twin discount if you enter the code “tw”.

  10. I have a three year old who has learned to ” leap” the gate, box, door, prayer system I have in place for my 11month old twins. I think of it has cross training. I am using five baby gates to cobble together a system that sort of works, as well as putting to use the tubs and tubs of clothes as barriers. Unfortunately, the twins are now walking and can haul their fat little butts over the top of one tub, so I have to stack two. I guess when I really need to stack three tubs I’ll start piling furniture? Collyer brothers style…

  11. Hmmm, I guess I am lucky in this regard (which is good because I am darn lazy with regards to this stuff)! Its definitely chaos around here with my 18 month twins, but not to the point of needing gates much anymore. We do close doors and that works for the most part for now, and I certainly have moments now and then where I freak out and push furniture around to block them off for a little while if they are driving me nuts.

    It does help that my 3 year old will yell bloody murder if either of the babies does something dangerous or destructive (she is really a cautious one, ha ha) so I have a good watchdog to help me out.

    Also, I tend to leave decoy items out for them to mess with — things I don’t really mind them dumping and throwing everywhere (all the kiddie plates bowls and cups in the kitchen, as well as my tea cabinet, piles of laundry (heh) and shelves of books, in the living room, etc). So far that mostly works, and the mess and destruction of those things is worth the time I get while they are entertained with it!

    I do WAY too often find one or the other crawling across the kitchen table, so I regularly have to stack all the chairs on top of the table…
    .-= Kristin Hutchinson´s last blog ..Happy Birthday to Me! =-.

  12. Cindy, we had a problem with our staircase too … at the top we had a wall on both sides and had to drill into the wall to put a gate there, but the bottom was spindles on both sides and it bowed out and was really wide … we got a long gate that opened in the middle and used large electrical ties to attach it to the staircase. It was a little wobbly at first but I had the idea to put screws with eye hooks under the stair treads. I put them in under the tread then used another electrical tie to attach the gate to the screw. Problem solved and no repair needed when it was taken down. In our new house now, we have a staircase with spindles on one side and a wall on the other … it works here as well.

    Hope that helps…
    .-= M´s last blog ..Christmas Traditions =-.

  13. Thanks everyone for the staircase gating suggestions, links and products. I’m going to check it all out because boy, these girls love the stairs.

  14. Our 11 month old twins have been running amok since they started crawling at 6 months. There’s nothing they haven’t trashed, but unfortunately our house isn’t easily baby-proofed and we also have a 2.5 year old to contend with. After reading all the comments, I’m breaking into a sweat at the thought of them walking. I’ve never seen such active babies ever.

  15. As parents we are on the lookout for things that can harm our children like falls or sharp objects but we may forget about the deadly poisons we keep within reach of our children. Some of the most common harmful items ingested by young children include cleaning products, cosmetics and hygiene products, items stored in the garage and basement and medication.

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