Thursday, July 14, 2011

Parenting. Or, how I walked the line between fostering curiosity and preventing permanent damage.

In blatant plagiarism of Elizabeth Downie's "Would You Rather" series,

Would you rather...

Have someone inform you that your child is playing with a potentially dangerous object that you had no idea they were playing with.

Things to consider:
  • Now you can address the situation before your child is hurt
  • You really can depend on the kindness of strangers
  • You and the other person both know you haven't been very attentive

Have someone inform you that your child is playing with a potentially dangerous object that you already knew they were playing with.

Things to consider:
  • Your reaction might give you away
  • You can replace the guilty feeling for enjoying a few moments of rest at your child's expense with the guilty feeling of getting caught
  • You can feel vindicated knowing that, while the other person thinks you are an inattentive parent, that's simply not true
And I'd just like to state, for the record, that my child has never played with anything dangerous in his life. I keep him in a small, modular bubble, feed him exclusively on organic, and keep his water and air purified. He stays so clean he doesn't even need baths. (Aside: does anyone else get a little grossed out by the concept of bathing - a hot soak in your own filth for 30 minutes? and I do enjoy a good bath now and then.)

Our little Genghis is at the age now that we need to start setting limits for what he can and can't do. Partly, he is getting old enough to understand. Mostly, he is getting into everything, all the time. Excuse me, sir, when did you get enough height and coordination to reach the dining table and pull the salt shaker off?

My long term solution for this is to hang a series of nets from the ceiling where we will store all of our belongings for the next 15 years. Abe and I will probably also live in the nets, too, for simplicity.

On second thought, maybe we'll just keep Genghis in the nets instead.

While I work on getting all the eye-hooks installed, I will enforce the following limits on potential destruction (both of person and of property).

1. The office in the bedroom is off limits. This one is usually pretty easy because we just keep our door shut. Except when we forget to keep our door shut and Genghis makes an immediate B-line, rounds the blind left corner, and finds the baby amusement park of flashing lights, humming disc drives, and reams of unsoiled paper.

2. The bath tub is for sitting not standing. For all of Genghis's enthusiasm for getting into the bath tub, after a grand total of 30 seconds in the water he stands up and either attempts to climb out (maybe he also senses the grossness factor of baths), or gets his "I'm so cute" grin on and demonstrates how long he can stand on his own before I use bodily force to get him back into a sitting position.

3. The wood chips in the landscaping around our house are an inappropriate substitute for Gerber's Veggie Puffs, no matter how similar the taste. ... I don't know. I may cave on this one.

In the meantime, I'm in the market for good bath toys (along with all that netting for the ceilings). Any suggestions?


Megan said...

I really wish I could watch Andrew in a padded room during the day. Since that is not an option, I might try your net option.

Jen said...

I would suggest you start requiring a password on your computers cause you know one of these days, Gehghis will find his way in there and edit all your files then change the display settings with some complicated combination of keyboard shortcuts that you will never figure out!

My kids always liked the bathtub toys that squirt water, but they need to be replaced every so often cause there's no way to clean them out. Anything that sticks to the wall is fun, we had an alphabet set and some fish that were lots of fun to play with. What you might really need is netting suspended above the tub to hold all the bath toys!

Dawn said...

I can only wish you luck. I haven't been able to install limits with my dog..can't image trying to set limits on a little person.