February 19th, 2010


Becca Sanders

Recently we erected a table over the radiator in daughter F.’s room so that she can climb it more easily. This sounds a bit like giving her matches so that she can start a fire more easily. Allow me to explain.

One thing I’ve learned as a parent is that there is a certain subset of behaviors over which I have no control. These include – but are not limited to – what my kids will eat, when they go to sleep (as opposed to when they go to bed, over which I do have some control), and what they do in their rooms when the door is closed.

For daughter F., the latter does not (unfortunately) include napping, but does include tearing pages from library books, emptying dresser drawers, and climbing onto the radiator in front of her bedroom window so that she can say “Hi!” to the neighbor’s dog. In our house, this constitutes quiet time.

Lately she’s been getting her legs stuck between the fins of her radiator – the hot fins of her radiator. This posed two problems: (1) falling, and (2) burns.

Now, F. is quite the agile little thing. She’s fallen a few times but has never been injured. The burns, however, seemed more serious. After mulling it over, we decided that it would be easier to prevent burns than falling; thus the table, which allows her to climb with more ease but less scorching. F. did manage to pull off the rubber corner guards we glued (and screwed) onto the table edges. But overall, this has been a success.

Not so with our other recent attempt at child-proofing. I bought what I thought was the perfect lamp for F.’s room. Entirely plastic, the shade clicks onto the base and entirely covers the bulb (a low-heat, low-watt job). Then one day we opened F.’s door after quiet time to find that she’d killed her new lamp. It lay on the floor, the shade pulled from the base, the bulb twisted from its socket. Exposed wires hissed and sparked – if only in my neurotic imagination.

The lamp is gone.

And I’ve done my best. I can only close the door to her room and hope that she learns how to avoid the sharp corners and keep her balance, or at least land on her feet. And I calm my pounding heart with the knowledge that this is the last time we’ll be going through this stage. Even if I wanted to do it all over again (and there are times when I do), I’m too tired, and too old.

I’m child-proof.

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