Keeping the Tiny Drunks Alive

“Having children is like living in a frat house — nobody sleeps, everything’s broken, and there’s a lot of throwing up.” ∼ Ray Romano ∼

I’ve heard the comparison before that babies learning to walk are very much like tiny drunk people. As I’ve watched my one year old girl become a walker (her brother is taking a more relaxed approach to that milestone), I can’t help but chuckle at how true this is—the stumbling, the weaving back and forth, the exaggerated falls.

Hal Smith as Otis Campbell; The Andy Griffith Show – CBS; No copyright infringement is intended.

She even hiccups a lot—a talent she developed in the womb. I’ve taken to calling her “Little Otis,” although I better stop in case that nickname sticks. I don’t want it following her into middle school.

BUT with standing and walking come a whole new set of challenges: small fingers within reach of anything and everything—plugs, cords, knick-knacks, lamps, coasters, throw pillows, dinner plates, coffee cups, remote controls, cell phones, tablets—you name it. Nothing is safe. Everything is up for grabs. Literally.

I have never in my life experienced anything like it before. It’s like they purposefully wait until my attention is elsewhere to see if I will notice them inching their wee fingers toward the Firestick remote or toward my sandwich or toward the tubes on my breast pump. Little eyes will give me a few sidelong glances to gauge my reaction before they fully commit to grabbing anything.

Needless to say, there is a whole industry devoted to helping exhausted parents baby proof their homes. We have lined the hard corners of our hearth with foam, covered all the outlets with boxes, used cable concealers for all the cords, and relocated every movable object to a higher place. We have even used bungee cords to link all of our dining chairs together so Little Sir and Little Miss can’t treat the chairs like their own personal wheelbarrows. We’ve tried a lot of products, and we’ve probably spent too much money doing so. Some of them don’t work at all, and some of them work pretty well—this week, at least.

That’s the thing—my children are geniuses and seem to figure out loop holes in the way these products work. For a few weeks, we have them stumped. But that doesn’t last for long. While I’m glad to be raising brilliant babies, I am a little concerned about how they will outsmart me as they grow…things should get interesting.

Even the things you think would be safe from the chaos—rugs and couches and overstuffed recliners—those things are actually in a lot of danger, too. My little people may not be able to move the bigger items or choke on them or break them, but at some point, every type of bodily fluid imaginable will have been smeared on our expensive pieces of furniture and floor coverings. I kid you not, several weeks ago, my son’s diaper failed him and me, and I was left using a lot of elbow grease on the huge brown splotch smeared into the fibers of my living room rug—my white, shag carpeted, living room rug.

Lest you find yourself in a similar emergency, I have some advice for anyone who is approaching that period of life with teeny tots who are starting to turn into miniature explorers—just save yourself some time and money and get rid of everything now. No cute décor, no furniture, nothing. You can either have babies OR you can have nice stuff. You cannot have both. Living in one big padded room would be ideal.

And there is a bright side to this: the padded room will be there for you once your kids reach adulthood and you’ve lost your mind while raising them.

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