It occurred to me recently that we’re treating our children like self-injurious mental patients.
Now now, hear me out on this one. The girls sleep in the same upstairs bedroom. Let me describe to you the physical characteristics of this room:
- Carpeted floor
- Door permanently held open with door stopper
- Baby gate placed across door opening
- Two closet doors tied together and unopenable
- Decorations limited to the upper portions of the walls (out of reach)
- Light switch fixed so as to be inoperable
- Two pieces of furniture: Bear’s bed and Bean’s bed
- Absolutely nothing else in the room
Is this or is this not essentially a padded cell? I have to admit, this is not the room I had envisioned for our kids. I always imagined a warm cozy place with shelves and toys and stuff on the walls. But the reality of the situation is that, after we put the kids to bed at night, they would use these otherwise harmless objects to kill each other. Or at least to just keep themselves up at night. Which is almost as bad.
Opening and closing doors, or ‘finger-crushers’ as I like to call them, seems to be the latest fascination among our young duo. So the first order of business in securing their bedroom is prohibiting movement of the finger-crusher. Of course now that the finger-crusher is wide open, willful exiting of the bedroom is possible and will occur 3,000 times before the kids decide to stay in the room and fall asleep. Hence the baby gate. The closet finger-crushers are also fixed shut. I have not discovered babyproofing for bi-fold doors that can be easily installed and removed, so what we have is a permanent fix which of course prevents any access to the closet.
One of Bear’s latest developmental milestones is the ability to reach and operate light switches. This is annoying as all hell. I’ll be trying to load the dishwasher in the evening when all of a sudden *flick* off go the lights as Bear cackles and scampers off. I’ll be shaving in the bathroom. Flick, cackle, scamper. Or sitting and reading a book. Flick, cackle, scamper. You get the idea. It took us a while to realize that this problem was affecting bedtime. We’d be downstairs with the monitor on and I’d think to myself, That sure sounds like a lot of cackling and scampering up there. Sure enough I finally went upstairs and discovered that the bedroom lights were on. I hastily applied duct tape to the light switch, a solution that took Bear only a couple of nights to outsmart. Short of removing the bulb, I’ve got nothing for this one.
I imagine there will come a day when light switches are flipped at appropriate times. A day when bookshelves aren’t ladders, picture frames aren’t weapons, and doors aren’t finger-crushers. A day when the children will actually try falling asleep at bedtime, not as a last resort but as an actual intended activity. Personally, I feel like I get these concepts, so I suppose the kids will eventually get them too. But until that day arrives, I’ll be kissing the girls goodnight as they snuggle up in their padded cell.