This week my life flashed before my eyes: Peeper started crawling!
We went to a play date at a friend’s house on Monday. Her 9-month-old twins were motoring around the house, dodging plush toys and cross-legged adults sitting on the floor as if the living room were an obstacle course. At one point, her son used my left arm to balance and her daughter my right as Peeper rocked on her knees in front of me. It was happy chaos.
At one point a visitor from out of town who didn’t have a baby of her own looked up and said, “Wait, where’s the fast one?” For a second everyone stopped. Where was he?
Thankfully, he wasn’t off rummaging through the knife drawer: His mom had put him down for a nap. But with his crawling skills, he could have been anywhere.
I identified with that heart-stopping panic now more than ever.
Peeper started crawling the day after that play date. (She must have been inspired by the very mobile twins!) She suddenly figured out how to coordinate her arms with her legs. Now she has forward mobility, however precarious and wobbly it looks.
I’m equally thrilled and terrified. I encourage her attempts to move by the usual cheering and rattling interesting toys just out of reach. I love her sidewinder move and the running man-like crawl where she moves her arms and legs a lot but stays in the same spot on the carpet.
At the same time, I won’t be able to set her down and trust she’ll stay put. And I have to tackle baby-proofing the house. When I look around, I see hazards everywhere. We have power cords waiting to shock prying fingers, a wine rack to conk Peeper’s head and sharp coffee table corners to gouge eyes.
(Who wants to come over for a play date? KIDDING.)
I’ve gotten better about catastrophizing, so these issues don’t freak me out as much as they used to. The first few months of Peeper’s life, my anxiety was ratcheted up as I adjusted to being responsible for an entire person’s life. Driving over bridges was particularly terrifying: I envisioned our Prius careening over the side and crashing into the Willamette River below every time I crossed.
I panic less on bridges now, though I take care to drive in the lane away from the edge when I can.
I’m trying to do the same with our home. I can steer clear of the worst though unlikely dangers by hiding cords and clearing low-lying shelves. But just as I can’t avoid bridges entirely (especially not in Portland!), I can’t cover our home in bubble wrap.
This might result in a few bumps for Peeper. But she’s going to endure minor scrapes and bruises no matter what we do. Would I even want to shelter her from pain at the expense of everything else? I don’t think so.
I’ll plug electric outlets and box up some of our most fragile belongings. I’ll do my best to step in if she’s too close to knocking her noggin on the kitchen table, but I want to leave her free to explore. She’s learning about the world through touch—and taste, as she continues to bite everything—and I’d hate to limit her freedom unreasonably. I want her to grow with confidence and wonder.
I also want her to know that I’m always nearby, ready to kiss any boo-boos better.
How did you handle child-proofing your home?