There are 3 ways that I love to be woken up from a sound slumber and none of them involve children. They are: the smell of bacon being cooked, the voice of Terry Bradshaw and the Fox NFL Sunday crew discussing football, and one that, while it may ultimately lead to children, it should never involve them.
Unfortunately for me, the past couple of days I’ve been woken up by the thud of Elizabeth dropping out of her crib. It’s a truly horrible sound–meat hitting the Berber carpet. If you’ve never heard it before, try dropping your Philosophy 101 text-book on the dorm floor. A dead, lifeless thud. The ensuing silence is quite eerie.
Those of us that have kids already know the noise (and the silence) quite well. That cute little baby mattress only lowers so much. Eventually, there are only two options: you switch to a toddler bed, or you wait it out. Neither one is safe. Waiting it out is the consensus among parents. It’s the lesser of two evils. Eventually, your child will learn how to escape from the crib. At that point, you should switch to a toddler bed, it’s easier on the baby, but it’s much, much harder on you.
After hearing Libby drop gracefully from her crib a couple of times, we decided to convert her bed into its Toddler Bed form. Her bed is pretty cool, it converts into three-different configurations so it can grow along with her. It’s kind of like a Transformer, except instead of being an awesome car and saving the world, it’s a milk-stained bed frame. (Us parents have to grasp at anything we can to escape the harsh realities of raising children.)
While the toddler bed keeps Elizabeth safe from cracking her big, beautiful head open, it presents other dangers–to herself and me. She’s free now (“at large” might be a better term) and since she’s the first one to bed at night, she is usually the first one to rise in the morning. That means unsupervised access to the house. Here are just a few things that Libby has done with her newfound freedom.
The first morning wasn’t so bad. She started ripping all of her diapers out of the package, but I caught her before she could do too much damage. The next day was a little worse. She has this game she likes to play where she rips all the wet-wipes out of the package one-by-one. I hate this game with every ounce of my fiber. There are a lot of ounces in my fiber. It’s a small thing to get so upset about, but them wet-wipes ain’t cheap and she can destroy a Family-Sized box of them quicker than I can earn $15.97.
After the wipes incident, I moved her changing table, diapers, and wipes into our bathroom where they could be locked away. There is a problem with not being able to lock up everything though. The fridge is locked up, the pantry is impenetrable, and after seven years of collecting dust, I finally installed those child-proof locks on the cabinets and drawers. Despite all of our technology, we still can’t cure human error.
With doors, drawers, and cabinets locked I woke up to this one morning:
It does no good to child-proof the house if you’re going to leave breakfast condiments on the table and last night’s dinner on the kitchen counter. The smell of maple syrup and pepperoni should be patented and sold to the military for top-secret weapon development. I expected the plate to break in half with the amount of force it took me to pry this pepperoni-platter off the floor.
Forty-five minutes, two-ruined towels, and one bath later, the mess (and Elizabeth) was cleaned up. We could now get on with our day. For me, that meant unlocking the fridge and pantry to prepare breakfast (obviously not pancakes now) for the kids. As I reached for the fridge’s lock I smelled that old, familiar smell and felt that old, sticky syrupy feeling. That lock may be sticky, but at least it works.