I left Jack playing in his room while I cleaned up lunch and returned to find him gone. After a few seconds of pure terror I spied the open closet door. I had left him playing near the closet and I figured he had rolled inside (it's a smallish walk-in closet). I was heading across the room and getting nervous because I still couldn't see him, when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw this:
What isn't so fun is that now that Jack is so mobile, I have to worry about what he is going to get into. For instance, there was a horrible tangle of electrical cords on the bottom bookshelf feet from where Jack was playing.
Part of me wants to go out and buy a million electrical outlet plugs, cabinet door locks, fences, gates, electric fence (just kidding) and pack away everything fragile. On the other hand, I know it's important for Jack to learn about boundaries.
One of the books I read during Jack's first weeks was Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg and Melinda Blau. In it she talks about how it is important to teach your children boundaries and rules about what is okay to do and what is not. What really struck me about this was how when you teach your child not to do something, he knows not to do it anywhere (or that is the ultimate goal anyway). She addressed fragile objects and how by teaching your child that some things are not for play he will know not to play with your friend's figurine collection when you visit her house. (I'm summarizing here. I read the book a while ago and it was during the sleep deprivation stage, so I may not be exact. I plan to pull it back out and re-read some of it soon.)
In On Becoming Baby Wise: Book II by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam also talk about the idea of "baby-proofing" your home. They also stress the importance of teaching your child how to interact appropriately with his surroundings rather than trying to protect him (and your stuff) from everything. One point I liked was that a combination of rules/discipline and physical barriers/protective measures are best. They use the example of a toddler obsessed with the toilet water. If age appropriate instruction/discipline doesn't work and he's still fascinated, it may be best just to keep the bathroom door shut for a while, eventually he'll get it.
Another great example of house proofing your baby is the way my sister-in-law taught her kids that they are not allowed to open outside doors. It was so nice having them at our house knowing that they wouldn't try to open the front door and run into the street. That's not to say that we didn't watch them closely, but it was pretty cool to talk with my niece about how she was waiting for Mommy to come back from the car because she (my niece) wasn't to open the front screen.
Now I'm looking around and trying to figure out what needs to be moved (the wine bottles) and what can't be moved (the fireplace) and thinking about how all this theory is going to turn into reality. Uhh, I'm not sure we're ready for this.
Any advice for the soon to be parents of a crawler and current parents of a scooter/roller?