The job of childproofing your home does not start when your baby is born or even when the baby starts crawling. Rather, the childproofing of the home really begins when you find out that you are going to be a parent — mentally or otherwise. For example, when we knew that Chaim Yosef Davidescu was going to be joining us in Kew Gardens, we started discussing what kinds of equipment we would need to eventually buy to help protect him against, well, himself.
No matter how prepared you think you are, you will inevitably slip up somewhere and that is almost always okay. We had no notion, for example, that if we turned our backs for just a second that our baby could possibly go tumbling off the bed. It immediately became the biggest regret in our entire time being his parent — why didn’t we think of putting rails on the bed? Funnily enough, we still don’t have rails or guards on the bed but we do not leave him alone on the bed for even a single moment.
Once Chaim Yosef started crawling we suddenly had an entirely new perspective on life. Our television entertainment center went from being a haven for our entertainment products — DVDs, DVD player, game systems, peripherals — to being a potential extreme hurt or death trap. We both got on our own hands and knees and started crawling around, seeing what was reachable and from what was reachable, what could be easily inserted into our baby’s mouth. What could be put in his mouth was immediately moved up to a different shelf. Our entertainment system was transformed — thanks to the fact that it has a higher shelf, dangerous components went there and his toys and playthings filled the rest of the spaces.
The same went for a short bookshelf in our living room. From a place to keep our video games and some books to a place to store his stuffed animals and even more of his play things.
We wanted to isolate him to an area large enough to encourage crawling but small enough that we could remove all danger from it. Our living room became that space and so we went to Buy Buy Baby to buy a wide baby gate so that he would not be able to get into our long hallway full of bookshelves — and hundreds of books, DVDs, and other hazardous items.
We next purchased plastic guards for all of our electrical outlets when they are not in use. Because I have read so many things about babies pulling out the guards, we found and purchased special guards that have to be pinched in three different places at the same time in order to remove them — and nearly no baby can figure out such a thing.
Granted, our baby is not just any ordinary baby. Just the other day I received an e-mail from my wife with no text and one letter as the subject line — ‘Q’. It had been sent from her iPhone. It turns out that my wife had given him the phone and he had managed to navigate to the email program, compose a new message, address it to me, set Q as the subject line, and then sent it. Neither of us has a clue how he did it without prior coaching.
Childproofing the home is not enough, of course — one must be vigilant on the go as well. When we are on the subway, for example, my wife is extremely careful not to allow Chaim Yosef to touch nearly anything and when he does, to quickly wipe down his hands. As he gets older and eventually gets joined by siblings, G-d willing, we will find ourselves with newer and newer challenges — and we will rise to meet those challenges as well!