The one thing Kathleen and I did that was vital to ensure the long-term health and safety of Jack and Adam, besides following the sage advice on the refrigerator magnet sent home with us from the hospital after Jack’s birth instructing us to never shake our baby (Infants are delicate: Try using a Whisk instead), was Baby Proofing our home. The problem is that they keep getting back in; we think it might be through a vent in the attic. (Personal note: Buy more Cheerios and reload the traps in the crawl space).
Not to worry though Baby Supporters (or Sippy Cups), we use only humane traps and adhere to a strict catch and release philosophy; which is usually practiced when I try to change Adam on the living room floor. While I fumble trying to open the Buffalo Wing Wet Nap, Adam uses the momentary distraction to escape. (Hey, if a Wet Nap can clean crispy chicken skin and hot sauce out of my goatee it can clean a little poop off my son. Do you know what can’t clean poop off my son? A Spork.) I can usually catch him before he hits the kitchen, and when I pick him up he releases on me. See, humane.
The truth is that we were far more conscientious in providing Jack a home free from 90 degree angles, recalled toys, access to poisonous and toxic chemicals, exposed wiring, open stairwells, fast food delivery sponge baths and illegal immigrants than we have been with Adam. (I’m telling you Wet Naps really work and if you can show me a non-Peruvian who can spray high-pressured liquid insulation better than Martini and Guillermo I’ll hire them)
Now, perhaps it is just Second Child Syndrome that has caused us to adopt a laissez-faire attitude of Qui Sera Sera and to declare c’est la vie when it comes to baby proofing the house for Adam and for overusing French phrases in casual conversation, but this is common with the second child in most families, n’est-ce pas?
Yet just as Clarice Starling sought the assistance of cannibalistic serial killer and world’s fastest Indian Dr. Hannibal Lecter to catch another serial killer called Buffalo Bill (Consumer Alert: Wet Naps won’t get Buffalo Bill out of your goatee) we too receive brilliant counsel informing us of the safety deficiencies present in our home from an equally unlikely and ironic source; Adam. (We even cut his bottle milk with some fava beans and a nice Chianti) In just the last few days alone Adam has been helpful enough to reminds us of and bring to our attention a few of the most egregious violations in basic child safety standards present in our home.
A couple months ago Adam pushed the TV on/off switch so hard it fell inside the television. Now there’s a small square hole next to the volume button which is the perfect size for a drool soaked finger to get stuck in while rubbing the circuit board like it was brail glory hole.
Dining room chairs left pulled out from the table even for a moment become hand holds in Adam’s post-dinner indoor climbing wall while Jack’s old tricycle has quickly become a critical toehold. Other protrusions, bulges, overhangs, and underhangs are represented by the Pack and Play, his Little Tykes Work Bench, the vacuum cleaner, the stools to the side table, and the cat. Hand holds, bulges and protrusions? Sounds like my Junior Prom. (So Amy, voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir? She told me to take my hand holds off her protrusions.)
Only one cabinet in our kitchen is equipped with a legitimate baby lock and it’s not the one holding the cleaning products. That cabinet is secured tightly with a rubber band. Before you call Child Protective Services you should know we do that thing with the rubber band where you twist it and double up with a second loop so it’s really like two rubber bands. (Because of the Hollywood Writer’s Strike we’ve actually had Eddie Steeples guarding that cabinet since early December.)
All the electrical outlets not currently in use have plastic outlet protector plugs in them. That is all the outlets except the one that Adam continues to pry the protectors from the sockets. That one has Adam’s fingers in it.
One of Houdini’s signature stunts involved being strapped into a straitjacket then suspended by his ankles from a tall building or crane. Until today this is essentially how we had to detain Adam in is high chair at meal time to prevent him from escaping. I say until today because through a maneuver in which I think he dislocated his shoulder and regurgitate a skeleton key he was able to wriggle free from the high chair restraints. Starting tomorrow at breakfast he’s getting his cinnamon toast in The Chinese Water Torture Cell.
Many parents may look upon these examples with empathy and say they are but minor infringements to the sacred protective trust between parent and child and to them I will laugh and say, “Ha, you just said Butt Miner.” But I’d also ask them if their child ever fell into a cardboard box of guns, because earlier tonight mine did. Aside from the fact that the ammunition for the artillery is water and Nerf darts my heart swelled with pride as I stared down at my God-Given right to bear children and my Second Amendment Right to bear arms together in one box. (You got offspring on my constitutionally protected rights! No, you got constitutionally protected rights on my offspring!)
I’ll be honest with you though, when it comes what we’ve done to provide a safe and healthy environment for our boys to grow up in, je ne regrette rien.
Well, I do regret not putting a screen over that attic vent. I’m sure that’s how they’re getting back in.