Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tuesdays in Twinland: Childproofing

Sometimes navigating all the child locks in our house feels like trying to escape from a prison. Not that I feel trapped in my home or anything. It's just that the twins are crazy. Like REALLY wild and crazy. And since they became mobile last year, we've been slowly locking down every part of our house you can imagine, just to retain our sanity and (hopefully) preserve their safety...

And so here is a photo montage with explanations for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

First thing the twins discovered were electrical outlets, as I'm sure is true of most kids. These are the types of child locks we have on things we have to plug in...lamps, power cords, etc. This is so they can't unplug and attempt to plug things into the outlet. Which they love to do. If you don't believe me, just try to keep them away from the nightlight in their bedroom (which can't have this type of lock for obvious reasons).

We have a central vac system in our house. Apparently it is hilarious to open and close the covers where you plug in the vacuum. The covers are spring-loaded to automatically shut, since if a cover isn't closed, the vacuum won't work. Ditto if you break one of the covers. Since these are so fun to play with--and since the twins so frequently break things--they all have child locks on them.

Of course we have regular outlet covers for everything else.

I don't know what it is about the toilet that is so fascinating, but my kids love to play in them. And I'm a paranoid enough mother that I'm terrified they'll drown in them. Enter toilet locks. We're already on our second lock in one of the bathrooms because they broke the first. But after a week of no lock--and constantly trying to keep them from playing in the toilet--I decided it was worth it to spent $10 on another one.

We have lever-handle doors throughout most of our house. The plus side is they make locks for these now! The down side is they cost a lot more. Note to self: never buy a house with lever locks. Not only can kids open these kinds of doors much sooner, but they're a lot more money to childproof.

Oven locks. We're currently on our fourth--or is it fifth?--one. We've tried three different kinds. An oven lock is a necessity, which is why we keep buying them. Otherwise I can't cook anything with the twins around because they're constantly opening the oven while food is baking. Scary! And not great for whatever I'm baking. And on that vein...I can only use the back two burners unless someone is home to keep the twins in the other room. They can reach the top two. With two of them and one of me with a boiling pot, the odds aren't good otherwise.

We had to find a lock for the drawer under the oven, too. Speaking of which...the twins now stand on that little lip between the over drawer and actual oven. And they're getting dangerously close to being able to reach the back burners when doing that. You think they would learn what "ouch" and "no" means. You think after the thousandth time I put them in timeout, they'd stop doing it.

A fridge lock. Absolute necessity. Not only does it save me from worrying about them getting into the fridge, I don't have to worry about them getting in and then not closing it all the way, thus spoiling all the food in the fridge.

We've got exterior doors that we have to have these kinds of locks on. Now the twins are tall enough to reach the deadbolt, so I have to constantly check to make sure they haven't unlocked doors. Once they figure out the child locks, I don't know what we'll do.

We have locks on all cupboards and drawers in both the kitchen and bathrooms. So far they've broken two of them. Since it's stuff that's just annoying for them to get into, but not dangerous, I haven't replaced them yet.

The biggest childproofing change we had to make was in the living room. Once upon a time, back before the twins were mobile, it looked like this. Notice how spick and span it is, with a complete lack of toys lying around.

And then the twins started crawling. And suddenly, all those cords behind the television were great fun to play with and chew on. And I spent all day, every day, keeping them from those cords. And trying to stop them from opening and closing the DVD player. And preventing them from shoving toys into the VCR (yes, we still have one). So we rearranged the entire room, so that the TV was on the wall all the TV hookups were on. And we enclosed the open TV stand so they couldn't get to the components. And I pretty much have given up on cleaning up toys more than once a day, at night after they're asleep.

And then we bought earthquake straps and fastened the TV to the wall, so they couldn't pull it over on themselves. And then they decided it was really really really fun to throw toys at the TV, and bang on it with their toy hammers.

And then we gave up, and just decided to mount the television on the wall and put all the components on top of the bookcase, way up high out of reach. They're not good enough aims to throw their toys that high. Yet.

As a book lover, I have lots and lots and lots of books. And when the twins started crawling, that was the first thing they went for. So I squished all the books on the bottom shelf onto the second-to-bottom shelf. Then they started pulling themselves up to furniture and could suddenly reach that second shelf. After they ripped a cover off the book, I moved all the books from the bottom two bookshelves in the living room to the floor of our bedroom. "Surely by the time they can reach the third shelf they'll know how to treat books nicely!" I told Neil. And then they reached that bookshelf, and I moved even more books onto our bedroom floor. And now the two bookshelves in my living room look like this:

And I've given up on them learning to be nice to books. And I got sick of looking at all the books stacked against my bedroom wall. Remember, there were six shelves worth. And we broke down and put a third bookshelf in our already overly-crowded bedroom. And it looks sooooooo awful, but I don't care, because my books are safe and off the floor. Speaking of that chair in my bedroom...

This is the kitchen table in our living room that we pretend is a desk. The only problem is, the twins can reach the laptops. And they love to play with them and the cords. So we taped the power cord to the middle of the table and pushed the laptops as far back on the desk as we could. Well, they can now reach that now too. But just barely. However, if they climb up on the chairs they can reach without a problem! And so the chairs got shoved into our bedroom. 

This is a three-drawer end table that the twins have pulled the child locks off of. Multiple times. We've since given up. The problem is there are art supplies in those drawers that could make a BIG mess if they got into them unbeknownst to us. And we have nowhere else to put those art supplies. Our counters are no longer safe, all our high-up cupboards and shelves are full. So I think we're going to move this into our already over-crowded bedroom and put the laptops on it in there. Bonus: we can move the kitchen chairs back into our living room! There won't be anything on the table they can bother then.

The piano, with everything shoved to the center behind the music stand. Because they pull things off the edges. And their play table is turned upside-down, so they don't climb on top of the piano. They haven't yet figured out they can use the chairs for the same purpose. They just climb on those to play with the light switch you can barely see in the photo.

The trash can has taken up permanent residence on our kitchen counter. Trash is very fun to play with.

 The blinds have childlock things that we can roll the blind cords up in so they don't play with them. And they ALWAYS play with them if we don't do this. Speaking of which...

First thing I do every morning is pull up all the blinds in the house that they can reach. Otherwise they immediately start bending the slats and slamming them against the windows. It's a problem.

They've figured out how to open the dishwasher. I'm going to need a child lock for that soon. They've taught themselves how to start the clothes washer. There is nothing I can do about that except put them in timeout and turn it off. They climb over the backs of couches, slip into the bathroom before you can close and lock the door, and climb on tops of tables and countertops. They try to knock picture frames off the walls with toy brooms.

My house is a disaster most days. It's a struggle to keep it presentable, and lots of days I fail. Every moment the twins are awake, I'm racing to keep them out of harm's way, or from destroying or damaging the house. Even with all the child locks, it's a full-time job. Naptime is my most guarded hours of the day, because it's the only time I can really accomplish anything. But my heart is full. I love watching them run as fast as they can to enter forbidden territory when they see an unlocked door. I love watching them pull out the laundry baskets and string dirty clothes around the house, thinking they are "helping" with the laundry. I love it when they help me shut the dishwasher door, even if they do reopen it two seconds later.

I'm not going to win any awards for my housekeeping skills. No one is going to compliment me on my cluttered, mismatched, overly crowded furniture and decorating skills. But my heart is full and happy. I have two healthy, energetic, curious sons that I love. And I take the pictures, because even though it's really frustrating some days right now, I know one day I'm going to miss it. 

TWIN MOM TIP: Childproof early, for your own peace of mind! Trust me on this one.


M. R. Buttars said...

Lol The childproofing efforts read like war tactics. Very funny, and so very true. Good luck. Fight the good fight!

Lindzee said...

hahaha! I never thought about that...it's an apt description.

Heather said...

Hi I'm Heather! Please email me when you get a chance, I have a question about your blog! LifesABanquet1(at)gmail.com