Just a quick debrief before I begin: My living room IS babyproofed. My electrical outlets are covered, there is no longer anything on my coffee table or end tables. The cords to the blinds are wrapped and tied up high out of reach. There are no picture frames, vases, plants artwork, etc. lower than 4 feet to the ground. Both entrances are gated. Our television and TV stand have a huge fence around them. This does not mean that there isn’t all kinds of FUN to be found in places other than the 847 toys scattered across the floor. So, after babyproofing, here are the 10 best toys you didn’t know were STILL in your living room.
#1. Baby Wipes. With two babies in diapers, having wipes around for quick spills, spit-ups and diaper changes is inevitable and necessary. A container of baby wipes in reach (or even in view since Miss 16 months old will now practically scale a 3-storey building to get at what she wants) means that each wipe will be pulled out and tossed aside one by one. Each wipe pulled out leads to a bigger smile and giggle every time. “Why don’t you stop her?” you ask? Because this always seems to happen when I am breastfeeding my son. It’s as if she sees that I’m quite literally “tied down” and stops playing like an angel to find something she shouldn’t be doing.
#2. Kleenex. Colds and allergies happen. Having a box of Kleenex kickin’ around is going to happen from time to time. See #1 and add shredding. Shredded Kleenex. The very thing nightmares are made of. *Shudder*
#3. Remote Controls. While it’s annoying to have a toddler changing the channels or cranking the volume on a fuzzy channel, every parent can deal with this for a while if it is keeping her entertained. This seemingly harmless activity can instantly turn into extreme danger when baby figures out how to pull the back off of the remote and pulls the batteries out. At this age, everything goes in her mouth. Danger! Danger! Our remotes are now kept in the cage that we keep our TV in.
#4. Patio Door Lock Bar. We use a piece of wood in our patio door for extra security to make sure it can’t be opened from the outside at night. If I don’t remember to take it out in the morning and put it on the other side of the gate, it will be discovered and removed by Miss 16 month old and carried around overhead like a spear waiting to knock things off the wall and shelves or seriously injure Mr. 5 months old. I take it away from her quickly each time so I don’t actually know that she is purposefully marching towards her little brother or what she is going to do when she gets there but it’s fair to assume it’s not going to end well.
#5. Phone/Cell Phone. Miss 16 month old can spot a phone from a mile away. See #3 for the fun pressing buttons can be but add the risk of an accidental 911 call. It’s all fun and games using your cell phone to entertain your 16 month old until you receive a call back from emergency services responding to a call you didn’t know you made and have to explain to the 911 operator that there is no emergency and that you know you are a huge asshole for occupying a line that could be used for a real emergency.
#6. Windows are meant to be pounded on. I’m sure my neighbours think my daughter is being held against her will. And while that is completely true (she’s 16 months old after all), it does not always seem obvious from the outside that she has free reign of a very large area for playing. She just chooses to spend a lot of her playtime banging on the front windows and screaming as if she is pleading for help and hoping someone will come to her rescue. It’s one of her favourite pass times.
#7. Furniture. We unfortunately do not have a space in our house to use exclusively as a play room. So, our living room doubles as a play room. That being said, having couches, chairs and tables in the room is a cracked skull waiting to happen. A couple of weeks ago, I was feeding my son in the armchair in the living room. My daughter walked by me happily pushing her doll in her cute, little, pink, plastic stroller. Then it got quiet for about 20 seconds. Silence is usually not good. I turned my head to where she was about 10 feet behind me and she was sitting on her knees in the change table tray attachment of the playpen at the back of the room. She’s about 4 feet off the ground kneeling in a bassinet that cannot support her weight. I put my son down (cue hungry sea gull-like screams because he is not finished eating) and sloooooowly walked over to where she was so I wouldn’t startle her and cause her to fall. I see that in far less than a minute, she managed to pull a dining room chair over to the playpen and use it to climb in. Pushing the doll in the stroller was just a cover. I naively bought it. Dammit. So yes, furniture makes for added trouble. I have caught myself fantasizing about barrier fences around all of our furniture just like the fence around our television. But this would mean that I am essentially building a cage for my kids and I suppose that’s not appropriate.
#8. Mom’s Water Bottle. I have a water obsession. I don’t leave my house without my water bottle. I often don’t leave one room to go to the next without my water bottle. I drink copious amounts of water. Having a toddler who thinks it is awesome to open my water bottle and pour it everywhere has created a challenge. When she was smaller, I would give her my water bottle to play with when she would reach for it. She would shake it and watch the water splash back and forth. It didn’t take long for her to figure out how to open it. So now I have to be clever and creative and keep my water bottle way out of reach or outside of the room she is in. Sometimes I forget. She never forgets. If I leave my water bottle somewhere where she can reach it, she will find it, open it and dump it everywhere. However, sometimes it’s not so bad because a lot of times, my furniture, my floors and my kid could all use a good rinse-off after who knows what has been spilled/spit up on them. One time while I was again, feeding my son (noticing a trend?), Miss 16 month dumped my full water bottle all over the living room floor. Then she fingerpainted in it. Then she stood up and basically made her own slip and slide. Amazing. She did a similar number with a leaky bottle of milk. It’s impressive.
#9. Diapers. Having two babies in diapers, I used to (key words: used to) have a small wicker basket with each baby’s diapers in them on a side table in the living room next to the playpen to make for quick and easy changes without leaving any baby unattended. Then Miss 16 month old got up on her feet. She suddenly was able to reach this basket of diapers and throw them all over the place or just dump it 10000 times each day. It became her newest game. This basket of diapers no longer exists. In fact, after pulling the side table on top of herself one day while reaching for the basket of diapers, the side table has been confiscated as well.
#10. Anything and everything on the other side of the baby gate. No, these things are technically not IN your living room but they will be – thanks to tiny hands and an impressive reach for such short arms. In our case, this means anything we would have dumped at our front door. When you’re carrying in 2 babies and all their necessities after each outing, there is always a lot of things to be dumped at the front door. This means shoes, purses, car keys, receipts, items that can be pulled out of a nearby diaper bag, mail, newspapers (see #3 for a quick review on the awesomeness of ripping and shredding) and all kinds of other things. It’s amazing what Miss 16 months old is able to maneuver and pull through the bars of the baby gate. Just yesterday, I ran upstairs for approximately 17 seconds to throw a stinky, poopy mess of a diaper in the Diaper Genie and came back down to see my daughter charging towards her brother who was playing innocently in his exersaucer with a 4″ stiletto over her head. I’ve seen a CSI episode that started this way. Not good. Basically you have to think prison mentality where everything is a potential weapon. You know how prisoners can’t have shoelaces or toothbrushes with proper handles to prevent them from choking someone out or carving a shank and stabbing someone? Same here. Everything is a potential weapon, choking hazard or safety issue. And yet, for some reason, there is always a wide array of things on the other side of the baby gate waiting to be pulled in. Siiiigh… The worst is when it’s folded laundry in a laundry basket waiting to be taken upstairs and put away once there is another adult human available to watch the babies. Uggghh…laundry. Laundry is going to need it’s own entry. Let’s make this 11 items.
#11. Laundry is a never-ending activity. Just when you think you’re caught up, someone poops, pees, spills or throws up all over everything. Just when you think you’ve finished a load of laundry, you notice that half of it still has stains from things you didn’t even realize could stain until you lived with a tiny person who can make a mess out of the simplest thing. So when you actually have a clean load of laundry and manage to fold it and get it on the other side of the gate ready to be put away, it is quite possibly the most frustrating thing to turn your back for the 42 seconds it takes to change Mr. 5 month old’s diaper and return to see that the entire basket of laundry has been thrown all over the place by Miss 16 month old.
Disclaimer: This blog post was written on my phone while I fed my son and helplessly watched my daughter scale the couch and grab the remote off of the overhead shelf then sink back into the seat and pull wipes out of their container one….by…one knowing I could not get up to take them away.
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