Can you babyproof the world?

In one of the parenting magazines  I was just flipping through (all right – looking for crazy stuff to poke fun at) here’s a “tip” I found:

“I fill a bag with shoelaces and outlet covers, then throw it in my purse.” Why? Because if this mom ever, God forbid, finds herself someplace that has not been baby-proofed, she goes around and does it herself. Oh, don’t mind me, I’m just tying shut all your cabinets and plugging up your outlets.

 I’m surprised the woman doesn’t walk around with foam rubber to wrap around the lampposts on the way.

Now of course, the idea of a kid getting into someone’s cabinet and chugging the Palmolive is very disturbing. But so is the idea that the world has to be baby-proofed. You can’t lock every cabinet and cushion every corner, and I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t even try. At some point – and I do mean point – a child learns: Corners hurt! Steer away! And thus begins a lifetime of trying to avoid careening into things.

Same with opening cabinets. It’s a lesson kids need to learn. Once they do, you won’t have to walk around with a bag full of shoelaces.

I know it’s hard to watch a kid all the time, and other people’s homes can be a little shop of horrors. (Let’s not even talk about all the breakable stuff.) But the truth is: To try to baby-proof the world is to expect too much of ourselves as parents, and too little of our children, who will survive most ouchies and learn from the experience. And they don’t really like Palmolive anyway.  — Lenore

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