Rule No. 7 for living with babies: The greater the danger, the greater the force that pulls babies in that direction.
The twin grandbabies have been with us for a few weeks. They just turned one. Sure, it would be a violation of child labor laws, but these girls could make some serious money moonlighting for OSHA. If there is a potential hazard, they will find it.
You think you covered all the electrical outlets and they find the one outlet you overlooked. They had to wedge themselves between the wall in the front entry and the legs of a hall tree made of oak, but they found it.
You blocked a pathway to danger behind the sofa by standing an ottoman on its side, wedging it between the back of the sofa and the French doors, and yet the floor lamp is now swaying. Funny, the floor lamp never swayed before.
They lifted the upholstered skirt on the ottoman, crawled through, lifted the skirt on the other side and found a new play area filled with office supplies, reams of paper, computer software disks, a floor lamp, books, books and more books.
Oh look, one of them is reading a 600-page volume on American history. Yes, really sinking her teeth into it. Page 232 to be exact. Maybe those picture board books aren't as riveting as we thought. And who's to say the girls aren't ahead of the curve.
Just yesterday one of them had Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. Ate half a coupon. She ate the donut half and was nutritionally astute enough to leave the part for the free coffee for a grownup.
As the adults in charge, we stay ahead of danger by anchoring heavy objects, bolting doors and keeping shoes on our feet so they cannot be used as teething biscuits. We never suddenly back up in the kitchen without making three short high-pitched beeps and keep constant vigil on the mass of cords beneath the computer desk. May you rest easy knowing that a baby can disrupt WiFi service with a quick yank, but cannot pierce an Ethernet cord with only two teeth.
Each morning babies wake up with one goal in mind to perform death-defying acts that will prematurely age the adults in charge. They climb up on the raised hearth in front of the fireplace and pose like sweet babies waiting for a camera. Don't be fooled; it's a ploy.
One turns and grabs the handles on the fireplace doors, attempts to gain a toehold and scale the fireplace. The other lunges for the fireplace tools. Have you ever tried to get the upper hand on a one-year-old waving a fireplace poker? It's like talking a jumper down from a ledge. Speak slowly, confidently and don't make any sudden moves.
If there is water they will splash it, if it is hot they will reach for it, if it is shiny they will smudge it, if it is dirty they will lick it, if it is sharp they will want it and if there is a tag they will chew it.
The sensible thing to do when babies are under your roof would be to build a padded cell. But what fun would that be and how would we get any exercise?
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