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Modern Perspectives, Parenthood, Young Married Mom

April 13, 2011

Our Baby Against the World . . . Already?

Somehow our living room has become a microcosm of the whole world—and our place parenting in it.


Because Jacob is up (and down) and about with his own special style of crawling these days, we’re turning our attention toward baby proofing our apartment.  We’ve looked into some of the devices out there, and even purchased a few drawer-stopper things.  But before we get too involved with the gadgets, I’ve been pondering a more general question about parenthood.


How much should we protect Jacob from potential dangers in the world?  Thus far as a mother, I am not as protective as I expected to be.  I sometimes get upset when strangers touch him or have a conversation only with him without at least a nod to me, but he’s so friendly that I can’t bear to interfere with his sweet smile to make someone else’s day.


As for within our apartment, there is so much information available now about the various ways a child can get hurt in the average home, it’s enough to make you paranoid and never let your kid out of the crib.  I think the first step is realistically identifying dangers and their likelihood.  Once we’ve done that, a lot of the solutions come from thinking creatively and using common sense—two skills at which John and I, as a team, excel.


On the one hand, I absolutely want our home to be safe for Jacob.  He will fall, sure, but I can do my best to make sure it’s not onto or into something that is likely to do damage.  When I put him down to play, it’s on the carpet, with plenty of room for him to topple in any direction, without making contact with a table or chair.  I bet I would be pretty good at felling trees these days, if I could get the opportunity.


On the other hand, I don’t want things to be so bubble-like that he doesn’t have a chance to learn from little bumps here and there.  So far, even the falls I think are going to hurt don’t, so I guess there’s a really thick bone structure in there that’s keeping him happy (plus I now feel justified for all the ice cream and milk chocolate I ate while pregnant).


Then I start to think about being in other people’s homes and having them in ours.  I wouldn’t want to protect Jacob so strictly at home that he would be in even greater danger in someone else’s place.  The goal is to institute a combination of squishy protective things and good old-fashioned discipline.  At the same time, we have increasingly more friends with babies, especially babies littler than Jacob.  I want our home to be a safe place for them, too.


It’s strange how what seems like a little part of our world now can get me thinking about our whole parenting philosophy.  But I suppose all of parenting is one big journey of learning, all one great test of balance.


In the meantime, does that mean we get the edge guard for the coffee table, or just the corner guards?  Eesh!



  1. Rebecca says:

    Oh I so completely understand this post….although we haven’t even thought of baby proofing anything yet. I feel like I ride this see-saw everyday. How protective is too protective? How laid back is too laid back? Where’s the fine line that allows room for growth, exploration, mishap, a few bumps and bruises yet still allows you to fulfill your role as “mom – the most protective force in the universe”? As for the coffee table….how sharp are the corners? =)

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