Last weekend we babyproofed our house, and now I feel like I have to crack the DaVinci Code just to use my toilet.
About one month after our daughter was born, my wife started banging the babyproofing drum, acting like our daughter, whose resume highlights at the time included filling diapers, keeping us awake all night and refusing to eat, was going to wake up one morning and say, "Man, I can't wait to drink out of the toilet, run up and down the stairs and throw a cat in the dryer today." Eventually my wife realized that Tootie wasn't going to wake up one morning and suddenly start acting like me, and that we didn't need to babyproof right away. (I've been told by my mother that at a young age I put our family cat in the freezer because the cat "looked hot." Yes, by the grace of God, the cat survived.)
When our daughter turned 4 months old, my wife started casually bring up that we needed to start thinking about babyproofing the house. Over the course of the next month it escalated to her threatening to empty the diaper pail on my face in the middle of the night if I didn't get on board with babyproofing. If you've ever been within a three-mile radius of a diaper pail that's open, you know you'd rather pick up roadkill for a week with your teeth than have even one of those pails dumped on your head. So, on one of our meccas to Babies R' Us my wife went rogue and cleaned out the Safety section because the Internet and Dr Sears had whipped her into an absolute panic that something would happen to our daughter, who to that point had shown more interest in attempting to de-fur the cats than learning to walk. Every time my wife initiates the "Do you wanna have another baby?" conversation I revisit the fact that I've never seen anyone in Babies R' Us smiling and everyone in that store is beating their children, which gives me the total confidence I need to say "I'd rather gauge my eyes out with olive forks."
I didn't look at anything my wife threw into the cart at the Babies R' Us, partly because it looked like it was going to cost a fortune and partly because my objection would have been overruled and I would have been given the "You mean you don't love you daughter enough to buy padded bumpers for the crib" lecture. All I could think was that this is only the beginning. Right now I'm installing locks on the toilets to prevent her from drinking toilet water, tomorrow we'll be burning down our house and living in a teepee because BabyCenter.com has an article claiming that brown plastic siding on a house stunts a child's growth. What you don't know at that moment is that in one week your wife will find something wrong with those padded bumpers and you'll have to get breathable bumpers. Two weeks later, your wife will wake up in a panic in the middle of the night worried the breathable bumpers, as part of some sick conspiracy, aren't actually breathable, and of course you'll have to remove those, putting you back at square one with $70 less in your wallet and two sets of bumpers you haven't got room to store.
I was able to put the bulk of the process off for a few more months until this past weekend. A month ago I caved in and installed the cabinet locks. Now whenever I yank open a cabinet without disengaging the cabinet lock, my arm almost gets jerked out of its socket because the cabinet door only opens about a half an inch before stopping abruptly; I can live with that. My wife put the little foam covers on the edges of the coffee table; I can live with those as well. The trouble started when I installed the baby gate at the top of the stairwell. After two hours and re-drilling three sets of screw holes for the gate in an effort to get everything lined up perfectly otherwise a flea fart would knock it over, my wife walked through the gate a few times and deemed the gate unsafe because she thought she would trip over the bar along the bottom of the gate and go flying down the steps with the baby. The next morning she took the gate down and said we'd only put the gate up in certain situations. I doubt I'll ever be reimbursed for that little two hour adventure. Next, she wanted me to put a toilet seat lock on top of my toilet seat. If I ever find the jerk wad who invented toilet locks, I'm going to beat him unconscious. Sure you can unlock the device with one hand, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. The part of the lock that sticks to the tank is so large that you have to keep one leg pressed against the seat lid while you're going to the bathroom so it doesn't fall down, causing you to pee all over yourself and the bathroom. After a trial run that nearly resulted in the worst case scenario, I deemed the lock in my bathroom a risk to our marriage and removed it from the toilet and put it safely in the garbage, where it will never put another man at risk of peeing all over himself in my bathroom again. While I was working to avoid wetting myself, my wife installed the lock on the dryer and put a plastic cover on the downstairs door handle. The dryer lock is a pain in the butt, but I can live with it. The plastic ball on the door handle, however, is the crudest use of two ounces of plastic I have ever seen. It's a mental and physical endurance test on par with trying to solve that stupid little triangle game with the wooden pegs at Cracker Barrel while going through a basic training course. I caught myself sweating like I'd been running for half an hour after just five minutes of trying to open the door. When I got done, I had a healthy respect for Sisyphus pushing the rock up the hill and Tantalus reaching for the fruit. I'm going to give it a few months and file that plastic door handle cover near my old toilet seat lock when my wife's not looking.
I've concluded that this battle won't end until our daughter is wrapped in a 4-inch thick layer of bubble wrap and donning a ThudGuard. I don't care if you're a boy or a girl, if you're under the age of 4, nothing screams "Walk up and hit me in the face" quite like a ThudGuard. You're probably thinking it's a miracle I haven't offed myself by now because I have a house full of stuff that I can only look but can't use. Believe me, I would have, but there are child-safety locks on the oven.