Visiting relatives who dont childproof... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I could really use some tips here. We're supposed to go to nana's tomorrow for her bday and for whatever reason it didnt occur to me until late last night that this is going to be an issue. Their house is extremely not childfriendly, and hes at an age where hes into everything. Im not planning on staying long anyway, because they said to be there at 3, which means we likely wont be eating before 7, and DS' bedtime is 7. And i have no intention of spending my entire Saturday chasing him off everything and dealing w the frustrations that follow.

So, anyone have any brilliant ideas? The cat food i know is going to be a problem - ive dumped it twice myself, because its in the middle of everything... And ds is at a stage where he likes to eat it. I just dont know how this is going to fly... We havent been there since he became mobile.

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#2 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 05:27 PM
 
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IMO, I've always lived by the rule that it's not anyone else's job to change their way of life for my children. We visit a lot of people who have things my kids are allergic to out, do not have things that are childproofed, etc. I do spend my entire time dealing with it, but these are my kids and I am responsible for them. If there is something out (like a really expensive glass object or something), I'll suggest that it gets put up or I'll ask the host if they can shut the door to the room so that it doesn't get broken. But otherwise, I make sure my children are safe and not destructive.

MIL's house is not childproofed--they have a large banister in their split level that can easily fit a 3-4 year old child through it, and the child would then go crashing to the level below. Rather than say "my kids aren't coming over until you childproof that banister", I am on my children like hawks to keep them safe, or I have them go outside and play. There are breakables everywhere, but I keep them out of that area of the house. Kind of a PITA, yeah. But in 7 years, they've never broken anything or fallen through the banister, and it's less chaotic than what one would imagine. I just use a lot of redirection, a lot of making sure my kids have things to do to stay entertained, and they do a lot of playing outside. :

And if meals are being served late, I usually always pack something for my kids so they don't get too hungry. I guess I hate feeling like I'm imposing on others, so I just give the kids a bit less freedom and run of the house than they're used to. It's only for a day or two and then we're back home where they can be wild.

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#3 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 05:33 PM
 
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well the cat food i would just asked me to be moved for the duration of your visit. The cat won't starve in 3 or 4 hours. Isn't there maybe a spare room or guest room that's more or less "okay" that you can spend most of the time in? can you bring a blanket and some toys can be spread out somewhere for an improvised playarea? maybe the grandma has some tupplewares, plastic or wooden utensils that can entertain for a bit (something different, right?) would the relatives not be excited to entertain him themselves, passing him around so to speak, bouncing on the knee kind of thing?

Oh and by not child-friendly do you mean like precious antiques displayed everywhere? or like unsafe/unsanitary?

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#4 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 06:05 PM
 
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We seem to often end up at homes that aren't child-friendly (we don't babyproof our own home really but it is still very toddler-friendly, there are no breakables or dangerous chemicals etc.) and it doesn't end up being much of an issue. Sometimes we will clear out a space (which just consists of moving the glass bowls off the coffee table or something) so DS can play more freely. Or we spend a lot of time outdoors. Or we just follow DS around and keep him from getting into too much trouble. How old is your DS? My DS would never tolerate a playpen but if your little guy is more mellow you could try bringing one along... or bring a pressure-mount baby gate to help keep him from the worst areas of the house... I find DS often clings to me anyway when we go somewhere he hasn't been, so he isn't off causing destruction as long as we make sure he also gets enough exercise beforehand...

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#5 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 07:19 PM
 
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Ime with ds even people who have children &/or have childproofed it's never 100% for every child - 'cause each child is unique in which things they are interested in getting into.

I'd put the food up, quite frankly I wouldn't even ask. I also have no problems moving an expensive bowl or vase of flowers or ....

I'd also probably show up a little bit late, especially if you have any plans of staying to eat.

I try to go prepared with toys & food & drink for ds but must admit I often fail.

I agree with pp though that at this stage it is often not relaxing to go to other people's homes.

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#6 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 07:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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By not friendly, i mean a 3 bedroom nhabited by 3 adults and their lifetime of accumulated stuff. Floor to ceiling shelves in every room. There is not one safe room in the entire house, and no way to gate it off either (open floor plan).

Theres liable to be upwards of a dozen people crammed into this small living space with junk food spread at baby eye level. Really, itd be safer in the gravel driveway - there he can only eat rocks, but the weatherman is predicting 5 inches of rain tomorrow.

DS is 13 mos, and he'll be the only child under 20. He's never tolerated a playpen, and he's not yet at the point of understanding no, but past the point of easily redirected. He's extremely singleminded.

Im just really dreading having to be on high alert every moment for fear of him getting into something breakable or dangerous.

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#7 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 07:24 PM
 
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Yeah, it's probably not going to be the greatest time for you, b/c you will have to be right there with your DS all the time making sure he's not getting into something dangerous/breakable. I guess it depends, too, on what you mean by not child-proofed. We don't child-proof, but of course, having four children means we don't have say, knives laying out in reach, or anything. But it can be a pain, especially with multiple LO's, to keep an eye on them in a less than ideal house/situation.

Will he stay in a baby carrier on your back for awhile? Even at 3, my youngest would tolerate it at least for a short amounts of time. Especially if there wasn't a lot of kid stuff/toys available for him. Speaking of, definitely pack things to keep him occupied. Do you have a clip on highchair or portable booster seat? That could keep him at the table playing with blocks or eating or whatever while you visit with the adults.

eta: I see your reply now. That sounds challenging, for sure. I'd try to make the stay short. Good luck!

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#8 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 07:29 PM
 
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IMO, I've always lived by the rule that it's not anyone else's job to change their way of life for my children. We visit a lot of people who have things my kids are allergic to out, do not have things that are childproofed, etc. I do spend my entire time dealing with it, but these are my kids and I am responsible for them. If there is something out (like a really expensive glass object or something), I'll suggest that it gets put up or I'll ask the host if they can shut the door to the room so that it doesn't get broken. But otherwise, I make sure my children are safe and not destructive.
Yep. This. We spent no time childproofing our own house, but instead spent time playing with our son and never leaving him alone. As a result he has learned what is safe and what isn't. If I tell him he might get hurt somewhere, he will retreat, because he understands that being hurt is no fun. I don't scare him away from anything, just explain to him in detail that hot things burn, sharp things cut, and heavy things can fall. I want him to be prepared for the world and I don't want to waste time and energy childproofing the world.

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#9 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 07:33 PM
 
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Will he stay in a baby carrier on your back for awhile? Even at 3, my youngest would tolerate it at least for a short amounts of time.
This is what I was just about to suggest!

If possible, just plan to go for an hour or two. Get him good & worn out before heading over there, and put him in the carrier before you even walk in the door. Wear him as long as he'll tolerate it (so you can get some calm, chatting time in) and then when he gets restless, let him down and give him a snack. Once he starts getting too antsy, say your goodbyes...

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#10 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 08:55 PM
 
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We take turns socializing. One parent is on 100% kid duty and all they do is follow the kid around intervening. It's a way to stay connected with people but honestly the parties aren't usually that fun.

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#11 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 08:59 PM
 
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I'd keep him in a sling as much as possible and then take turns tailing him.
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#12 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 09:10 PM
 
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Yep. This. We spent no time childproofing our own house, but instead spent time playing with our son and never leaving him alone. As a result he has learned what is safe and what isn't. If I tell him he might get hurt somewhere, he will retreat, because he understands that being hurt is no fun. I don't scare him away from anything, just explain to him in detail that hot things burn, sharp things cut, and heavy things can fall. I want him to be prepared for the world and I don't want to waste time and energy childproofing the world.
Hahahahahahahahaha! This would never fly with my kid. He loves things that might hurt him...the more danger the better. Can we trade?

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We take turns socializing. One parent is on 100% kid duty and all they do is follow the kid around intervening. It's a way to stay connected with people but honestly the parties aren't usually that fun.
This is what we do too. One person is on "kidwatch" and the other is drinking wine and eating canapes. Its no fun for sure, but its only for a couple of years. And I totally understand the frustration that its been so long since everyone in the family has dealt with kids that they just don't get it. Nor do they care to.
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#13 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 11:07 PM
 
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Yep. This. We spent no time childproofing our own house, but instead spent time playing with our son and never leaving him alone. As a result he has learned what is safe and what isn't. If I tell him he might get hurt somewhere, he will retreat, because he understands that being hurt is no fun. I don't scare him away from anything, just explain to him in detail that hot things burn, sharp things cut, and heavy things can fall. I want him to be prepared for the world and I don't want to waste time and energy childproofing the world.


that would not work around here. at all. you must either have your furniture already bolted to the wall or you don't have a climber. also, a 13 month old doesn't have the ability to comprehend that a hot stove can hurt him even if he has burned himself on it. their brains have not yet reached that developmental stage.
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#14 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 11:21 PM
 
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Yeah... I think that you just have to literally be on top of him the whole time. You can't expect everyone to childproof.

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#15 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 11:28 PM
 
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We take turns socializing. One parent is on 100% kid duty and all they do is follow the kid around intervening. It's a way to stay connected with people but honestly the parties aren't usually that fun.
Yep, it sucks but this is life with a toddler. I remember the Thanksgiving my DD was 14 months, my mom had cups of scissors, sharpened pencils, a burning wood stove and a million other things all at baby level. We have a pic DH took and I look tired and peeved. It's funny now, but OMGosh then I was ready to lose it.

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#16 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 11:34 PM
 
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I could really use some tips here. We're supposed to go to nana's tomorrow for her bday and for whatever reason it didnt occur to me until late last night that this is going to be an issue. Their house is extremely not childfriendly, and hes at an age where hes into everything. Im not planning on staying long anyway, because they said to be there at 3, which means we likely wont be eating before 7, and DS' bedtime is 7. And i have no intention of spending my entire Saturday chasing him off everything and dealing w the frustrations that follow.

So, anyone have any brilliant ideas? The cat food i know is going to be a problem - ive dumped it twice myself, because its in the middle of everything... And ds is at a stage where he likes to eat it. I just dont know how this is going to fly... We havent been there since he became mobile.
Honestly, I would revise your expectations. You probably will spend the whole day chasing your son around, keeping him and your relatives' belongings safe.

I've been there, it sucks, but there isn't really anything to be done about it, other than arranging to trade off baby duty with your partner or other willing relatives so that you can have a little time to visit in peace. Eventually visiting people whose houses aren't baby-proofed will be much easier, but not while you have a mobile, impulsive toddler.
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#17 of 30 Old 10-23-2010, 01:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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By the "frustrations that follow", I actually meant the screaming meltdowns, not my frustrations. *I* can deal with frustration, he can't.

And like a pp said, at 13 mos, he is not capable of understanding when I tell him he'll hurt himself. Any more than he is capable of controlling his impulses to poke and bite everything in sight. He absolutely will not stay on my back if I'm not moving (by which, I mean walking, not jiggling), and going for a "short" period of time really depends on your definition of short, since it's an hour drive each way just to get there.

And for the record the extent of our babyproofing has been a lock on the undersink counter, a couple pieces of cardboard to keep him from pushing the buttons on the cable box and a few baby gates to keep him contained to the front of the house. We haven't gone around padding the world for him, but we have restricted his movement so that he can't unplug all the computers, eat kitty litter or turn on the (gas) stove and blow us all up. We removed anything breakable to a higher level, and redirect him from destroyable things (like the bookshelves). I just know that nana's house is way beyond easily redirectable...

But it is in fact a moot point... nana called today and said she realized that this was not going to work to be comfortable for any of us, so she cancelled and they will come up here on Halloween to spend time with him in a bit safer environment.

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#18 of 30 Old 10-23-2010, 01:50 AM
 
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But it is in fact a moot point... nana called today and said she realized that this was not going to work to be comfortable for any of us, so she cancelled and they will come up here on Halloween to spend time with him in a bit safer environment.
Your family rocks. Mine never got the memo...plus we "live too far away" for anyone to come here (including my mother!)...but its ok for us to travel to their (unchildproofed) houses every two weeks . Did I mention your family is awesome?
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#19 of 30 Old 10-23-2010, 03:30 PM
 
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But it is in fact a moot point... nana called today and said she realized that this was not going to work to be comfortable for any of us, so she cancelled and they will come up here on Halloween to spend time with him in a bit safer environment.
Oh you must be relieved!!!

Feel free to say 'no' when something like this comes up again. You don't have to accept invitations to do things that make you uncomfortable & miserable!! DS is so clingy that I never really had the issues you were anticipating but one thing we did have issues with was long car rides. So, until recently, we refused invitations to visit people who were more than 20 minutes away. We did make efforts to invite those same people to our house or neutral territory (park/zoo), but I refused to but DS (and therefore the entire family!) through the agony of a long car ride. So, just encouraging you to speak up when you're truly uncomfortable with something!

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#20 of 30 Old 10-23-2010, 03:34 PM
 
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Yay for your family OP!

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Hahahahahahahahaha! This would never fly with my kid. He loves things that might hurt him...the more danger the better. Can we trade?
For real!
We haven't "babyproofed" in the sense that most people take it to mean (buying contraptions meant to hold doors shut, etc). But we have an area where there is nothing that ds can break or get hurt on (well, we try. He still finds stuff).

I simply won't take him somewhere if people aren't willing to put up breakable things or things he can get hurt on. Nah, totally not worth the stress for me, and ds having fit after fit (each complete with headbanging). They don'y have to "babyproof" (which to me is just moving things that can get harmed or cause harm), but I don't have to go.
My MIL didn't put anything away before we came last time. She was more than willing to, but wanted to see just how much would need to be put away. We just put away stuff as it became apparent that it would be a problem.

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#21 of 30 Old 10-23-2010, 03:36 PM
 
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that would not work around here. at all. you must either have your furniture already bolted to the wall or you don't have a climber. also, a 13 month old doesn't have the ability to comprehend that a hot stove can hurt him even if he has burned himself on it. their brains have not yet reached that developmental stage.
I respectfully disagree. I am not into mommy wars, but my son has walked and climbed since he turned 10 months and once he fell a couple times and gotten a couple minor burns, I tell him something is hot, he makes the sign for hurt and will not come near it. He gets it. I didn't realize it, but I think I got lucky! As for furniture, we don't really have any. Our mattress is on the floor, and we don't really sit on the couch, so we don't have one. We're kind of an outdoorsy fam, not too home-body-ish or that much into stuff, so we keep it simple. Our bookshelf, however, is not bolted, but is pretty sturdy. I guess I didn't realize that this worked to our advantage. If we had more climbing surfaces and a less cautious kid, I might be more concerned.

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#22 of 30 Old 10-23-2010, 03:55 PM
 
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And see, I think my almost 16mo might "get it" about some things, but either he doesn't care, or his impulse control is not good enough to stop himself.

eta- I'm fairly certain my older ds got it that young. We visited all kinds of non-baby friendly places when he was little, and never had a problem. I think it *really* depends on the kid!

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#23 of 30 Old 10-23-2010, 04:03 PM
 
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My kid just doesn't care...doesn't even cry when the cat scratches him. Just goes back for more.
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#24 of 30 Old 10-23-2010, 04:03 PM
 
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I used to bring a crap load of toys, snacks, books and our portable DVD player with me to new places and for longer visits a pack n play for naps or night sleep if it was a late night visit. I would move things out of his reach that looked unsafe or breakable and as I did so would just comment that I was going to put this away until he's in bed/we go. If anyone ever had a problem with that, they never said so. I think they were just happy to have us visiting.

I don't think most people would have a problem with stuff being moved up high. I think you could also ask that snacks be put on a higher table for the future as they may present a choking hazard. Most people are pretty acommodating to doing simple things like that.

But for the most part, you will always have to be on high alert duty with your kids until they get to be a bit older. Mine is 5.5 yo. I still can't fully relax. Things like a video he loved (The Einstein videos and Backyardigans were big hits at that age) and the shape sorter and snacks he could feed himself were all a HUGE help and provided me with at least a little adult time while at various events like these. At that age we brought DS to friend's barbeques, pool parties, relative's homes, weddings...and he was frequently the only child under 12 there.

I'm not a big childproofer, but I do use electric outlet caps, hide cords, and lock dangerous cupboards (the ones with knives or glass in them). I might be tempted to bring a pack of electric outlet caps on a long afternoon visit with my LO because she is strangely drawn to them and has already shocked herself once, but keeps going back for more. I wouldn't even make a big deal of it or ask anyone. I'd just do it and quietly remove them when I left.

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#25 of 30 Old 10-23-2010, 05:45 PM
 
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I respectfully disagree. I am not into mommy wars, but my son has walked and climbed since he turned 10 months and once he fell a couple times and gotten a couple minor burns, I tell him something is hot, he makes the sign for hurt and will not come near it. He gets it.
My DS gets it about SOME things... he won't touch the stereo because one time he turned it on too loud & it scared him. He doesn't touch hot food. But other things, like climbing on things, it's just too much fun & hard to resist. I think "too hot" or "too sharp" or whatever are clear & directly related to the thing to be avoided, but fall hazards are harder -- kids fall all the time just walking on the ground so it's hard to tell them to avoid SOME things they could fall off but not others?? I don't know, just a thought. It does sound like you have a naturally child-friendly living space, which is kind of the same situation we're in, we don't have coffee tables or tall bookshelves or breakables or chemicals, so our house is just naturally more baby-friendly. I also found that the minimal baby-proofing we attempted (outlet covers, mostly) just seemed to heighten his interest in it (i.e. the outlets) so we removed them & he stays away from the outlets... well except when he practices plugging things in, which terrifies me because his fingers get in the way & *I* got a bad shock that way in college.

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#26 of 30 Old 10-23-2010, 08:39 PM
 
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When we goto friends/families houses that aren't childrpoof, I just do it. I go around and move things that ds1/ds2 aren't allowed to play with up out of reach. I just do. I always have... nobody has ever been offended/upset at me for doing so. And yeah, it takes an hour or so of moving stuff, but after that we're pretty good to go.

ETA: as for sleeping arrangments... I don't think I have ever traveled with a pack'n play or anything. We co-sleep, and so as long as ds1 (or now ds2) was/is in our bed, they sleep with us. They've also known how to get down from a bed from an early age (and no, its not something I ever 'taught'... they just figured it out ), so when we're at friends' late at night just hanging out the boys typically get laid down on whatever bed or couch is handy an out of the way an they sleep their till they wake up or we go.
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#27 of 30 Old 10-24-2010, 12:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Toposlonoshlep View Post
I respectfully disagree. I am not into mommy wars, but my son has walked and climbed since he turned 10 months and once he fell a couple times and gotten a couple minor burns, I tell him something is hot, he makes the sign for hurt and will not come near it. He gets it. I didn't realize it, but I think I got lucky! As for furniture, we don't really have any. Our mattress is on the floor, and we don't really sit on the couch, so we don't have one. We're kind of an outdoorsy fam, not too home-body-ish or that much into stuff, so we keep it simple. Our bookshelf, however, is not bolted, but is pretty sturdy. I guess I didn't realize that this worked to our advantage. If we had more climbing surfaces and a less cautious kid, I might be more concerned.
I definitely think this only works for some kids, DD does avoid hot to an extent but today she fell off a chair she had climbed on and her face caught her fall she sobbed hysterically and had a bloody nose and as soon as she calmed down she climbed right back on and stood up on the chair. We normally keep the chairs folded and away otherwise she climbs on our not too sturdy IKEA table.

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#28 of 30 Old 10-24-2010, 12:49 AM
 
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When we go to the ILs I spend the entire time following DD. I have to stay within a few inches
of her. I do pick up some things and put them higher. Last time
she started pulling the ornate keys out of FILs antique cabinets. I just set each one on top
of the cabinet. I mentioned to the ILs what I had done and they were flabbergasted that a toddler
would care about keys at eye level with giant tassles hanging off them. I guess the other grandkids
aren't quite as into investigating things. Anyway, visits are exhausting and I just try to get through them and then go home
and collapse.
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#29 of 30 Old 10-24-2010, 05:00 PM
 
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My mother doesn't babyproof at all, and at first when I went over there I kept moving things..My mother kept putting them back, so I decided that she didn't care if stuff got broken or torn. I don't take DD there anymore anyway b/c my mother smokes in her house and she refuses to stop around DD...My MIL bought baby gates and has made an effort to remove things such as fragile china figures and lacy doilies that DD likes to pull off the table houdini-style. Usually if I go over someone's house, they make an effort to move stuff out of the way that they value, or I just move anything potentially dangerous or valuable looking....I usually have to chase her around because people without kids have LOTS of stuff laying around that is irresistable to DD!! Our house is babyproofed to the extent that we have no breakable stuff at her level...and we have caps on the outlets, and a babygate blocking off the kitchen, but that is about it. I don't think most people mind if you move their stuff, especially since you are trying to keep it safe. If it were me, I would just stay home, sounds like something is bound to get broken or eaten. :-)

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#30 of 30 Old 10-24-2010, 05:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shnitzel View Post
I definitely think this only works for some kids, DD does avoid hot to an extent but today she fell off a chair she had climbed on and her face caught her fall she sobbed hysterically and had a bloody nose and as soon as she calmed down she climbed right back on and stood up on the chair. We normally keep the chairs folded and away otherwise she climbs on our not too sturdy IKEA table.
And this is my kiddo. He falls, he cries, he repeats . I always watch him like a hawk whererver we go because he does. not. listen. ever. The only thing he stays away from are vacuum cleaners and blenders because he is scared of the sound.

We had to babyproof the kitchen because it is an open floor layout with our livingroom and could not be gated off. So all the drawers got locks, an oven lock, and a fridge lock. At my Mom's, we gate the kitchen off.

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