OK, well, anything beyond our living room is dangerous. So not the whole world. Isaac, you see, is a crawler. And a world-class speed crawler, at that. We have caged in the living room, and fingers crossed that he doesn't discover how to use stairs in the next five minutes, we have established a baby safe zone. For the most part. I mean, yeah, I caught him chewing on a few extension chords here and there, sure. And he does, of course, attempt to spill my morning coffee on himself just about every day (usually he just grabs for the identical decoy coffee mug that I set out for him while I hide in the corner and secretly sip on the real mug. Who's the smart guy now, sneaky baby?). And there was the one time he succeeded in pulling down the baby gate. But he was fine. I don't know why toy manufacturers insist on making baby toys in bright colors with all the flashing lights and goofy noises. Those very elements seem to signal "Baby Toy", and thus "giant waste of plastic that I will play with exactly once and then abandon for the stereo knob and something sharp". Please, Playskool, make baby toys that look like everyday objects, just without the eye-poking-outness and potential for electrical shock.
At least he hasn't made it in to the dining room. Sigh...yet...The dining room is baby Shangri La, filled to the brim with all the good stuff. No fake, Elmo cell phones in here! No one is trying to pull the wool over his eyes with board books or plastic cups. In this strictly off-limits, grown-ups only room of horrors, we have the real deal. A wall of book cases, overflowing with treasured and well worn volumes of poetry, art and cook books, just waiting to be de-shelveved and gleefully ripped to shreds. Beyond that is the china cabinet to which I cannot seem to locate the key, so our beautiful wedding china is just waiting to be the victim of toddler curiosity. We also house the computer, the printer, vacuum cleaners, under-the-stairs half bath (a garbage can for picking and grazing! Toilet seat left conveniently up for easy toy-dunking and accidental drowning!), not to mention my coffee corner, and, worst of all: the entrance to the kitchen. If Odysseus does somehow survive the gauntlet of the dining room, the River Styx, if you will, he will find himself in Mommy Hades. Baby Death Trap. Kitchen. We keep the kitchen neat enough. I have moved the poisons to slightly less accessible cabinets; I don't cook, so the oven is never on; I keep the dryer door shut so he doesn't take to hiding in there, not to be discovered until I finally get around do doing the laundry. I still cannot shake the feeling that he is going to choke on some over-looked dog biscuit, learn how to open child-proof caps and chug the floor cleaner, climb the chairs and fall off the table...On the rare occasion we do let him crawl around in there, he actually does very little damage. His worst offense is, by far, the tipping of the dog dish. He loves that game. Beating a parent to the dog's water dish brings joy to that chubby baby's heart like no other scheme. When he succeeds in covering himself, and the whole kitchen floor, in cold dog-drool water, he is the winner. The winner of the moment, winner of the clothes change wrestling match, winner over the seriously worried dog, winner of the day. And I, Mommy Over-It, is the clear loser. This is inevitably the point where I give up. It is automatically Jammies Time. I don't care if it is only 1 in the afternoon. Jammies. Just woke up? Back into jammies. Why? Because the all the fight has left me. I know I lost. This James Bond of Household Dangers has out-foxed me again. The only way I can regain control is to jammie up. You may have won this round, Little Hartley, but I know something you don't know. That thing is the future. In your future, if you survive another day of rusty-nail discovering, cat-tail pulling and shoe-chewing (WHY does he want to do that???!), you are going to eventually go to bed. And do you know what my giant, red wine glass, that I waste no time in filling, says on it? V. For "Victory". It doesn't, actually, but it I should totally get one that does.