As I’ve mentioned previously, The Wee One’s newest skill is crawling. This is incredibly exciting and in the past few days he’s even started walking (slowly) with a walker. But this new-found mobility has left me running around the house like a crazy person behind him, trying to prevent injury while still giving him space to explore.
Our great room (aka the living room) is quite large and has a lot of what we call, “danger zones.” Additionally the three stairs into the great room from the dining room are wider than any baby gate would be and as we’re in and out of the room so frequently, it seems silly to close it off. He’s already mastered climbing up the stairs and is still working on getting back down.
The solution for us? A baby play yard, formally known as a play pen, or as Cousin Jo likes to joke with me, a baby cage. 🙂 The Scottish and I discussed how best to baby proof the great room because it is our favorite place to hang out as a family and it’s where we entertain guests when they are over. We knew we would continue to keep most of The Wee One’s toys in there for the considerable future. Ultimately, we figured out it would cost us more to add bumpers and gates to the rest of the room so we decided to buy this brightly colored super yard to put in the corner that would contain our little cruiser when necessary.
He still spends the majority of his day crawling around the great room, the kitchen, the dining room, his room, my room, and the hallway (such a busy guy!) but it’s great to have this spot available.
One morning last week I decided to follow The Wee One around with a camera to see if he’d go to all the danger spots and he pretty much went to them immediately, haha. He knows what he is not supposed to touch so of course he wants to touch it!
Glass Patio Door Jamb and Grates
We use this rod to secure the door to our backyard, but it’s taken out every morning so McKenna can go outside (and then inside again) all day long. It’s also a really fun toy for The Wee One, so it has to be moved up and away from his reach.
Our great room is covered in windows, which gives us beautiful natural lighting and the blinds that came with the house are awesome, but their strings are long and this is what happens when he can reach them, they go in his mouth!
TV, TV Stand, and Xbox
The Scottish is terrified that The Wee One will soon be strong enough to pull the TV down on top of himself (plus Daddy’s Xbox is precious to him too!). We are very careful about watching him like a hawk when he is near the TV. I let him pull out some DVD’s from the bottom part, but that’s about it. Luckily, he seems less and less interested.
My biggest fear is that he’ll crack his head on this fireplace. I HATE fireplaces. Much like I hate jacuzzi tubs in bathrooms. I know they’re nice looking, and they add warmth and purpose to a house, but they are a nuisance to me and a dangerous waste of space.
This the only staged photo. We usually keep the fireplace blocked off as much as possible. Although, once he is done with the jumper we’ll need a new toy to block it!
The room is also covered in cords for our computers, and a sound system (that we don’t use just yet) so there is always something for him to grab, and put in his mouth. The play yard made sense. I thought it was a great idea.
That’s why I was so surprised about how difficult it was for me to use it.
Despite the fact that I stay home with my son and he gets nearly 100% of my attention at all times, I felt like using a play yard meant I was a lazy, bad mom, or an indifferent one. The Scottish, my family and friends were all quick to tell me that it’s important for me to have a break, and it’s equally important for The Wee One to learn independent play time skills. It’s normal and frankly healthier for us to have some separation in the day. Trust me, I get it. But that doesn’t mean I like it.
Sometimes he’d be crying when I set him in the play yard, but it never lasted longer than a minute before he realized there were toys to play with, and a gate to pull himself up by. I started off slowly, just putting him in there to run downstairs to grab the laundry but eventually I started to use it more often.
Everyone talks about mom guilt, because it is a very real thing. It’s truly insane how much sane women can worry and second guess themselves once they become a mother. You love your child so much you can’t help but over-think things. i know I sound a bit dramatic about it all, but don’t worry, I didn’t feel this way for long.
As with most changes, I just needed some time, and I quickly discovered what worked best for me was to add play yard time to our schedule. The Wee One and I are busy. We leave the house everyday for play dates and/or errands, we also play in the backyard, and we go for walks. But we’re usually home for breakfast, most lunches, and nap times, so The Wee One goes in his play yard twice a day post meals. I don’t mind toys being scattered on the ground, but I can’t stand food on the table, dirty dishes in the sink, and a high chair full of crumbs. A clean kitchen is calming for me. So now The Wee One gets quiet, independent play while I clean up and it works out for both of us.
And let me add that as I type this, he’s playing (happily) by himself in his play yard with me close by on the couch. Baby steps, right? 🙂