Sunday, May 1, 2011

On the Move

It is one of the most difficult tasks known to man.  One could study it for years and still be no closer to mastering it.  Molecular physics?  No.  Hieroglyphics?  Not even close.   It’s baby-proofing a house- the singularly most difficult part of raising a child.  Oh sure, there are the obvious problems: the fork lying below a 110 volt electrical outlet, the spring loaded mouse trap in the corner, even that pair of scissors on the rug.  But some critical elements to baby-proofing a house are impossible to foresee.  Who could predict a ten-month-old would pass by a stack of brightly colored educational plastic toys so he could gnaw on a telephone cord?  Who thinks to look under the couch to make sure there are no screwdrivers hiding, just waiting for that project when someone on the floor under a sofa cries out, “Anybody got a Phillips?”  And the coat closet by the door?  Apparently a baby cannot pass up the opportunity to scatter all the gloves, scarves, and hats throughout an unsuspecting living room- thereby guaranteeing that no member of the family will ever find a matching pair of mittens again. 
There are multiple schools of thought on proper baby-proofing.  The oldest is the Natural Selection method- employed by parents from the stone ages until well into the 1950s.  In this method, parents allow children to fend for themselves, in hopes that children learn tough lessons the hard way while building inner fortitude.  Many saber tooth tigers captured easy lunches due to this method.  In modern times, the overwhelming presence of trial lawyers (currently they outnumber non-Vegetarian humans) makes this method more or less unsuitable.  The baby-proofing method developed most recently mixes the modern invention of plastic with the modern invention of hyper-sensitive parents, creating a home environment bereft of danger, as well as furniture, pets, carpet, and other family members. 
Regardless of which methods is chosen, however, babies will find a way to defeat it.  No matter how many books are moved from the bottom shelf to the top, no matter how many fragile decorations are stored away in boxes, there is always some unsuspecting pothole on the road to a perfectly baby-proofed room.  Now…where did all our goldfish go?

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