Hello, this is Simon.
Two weeks ago we moved into a new house. As I’m sure you are aware, it takes some time to get unpacked and settled into a new place. For us it has been a time of figuring out where to put things and then trying to remember where we put them. For our child it has been a time of discovery. By the day she is finding new places, things to play with, and new ways of making mischief. Almost a year ago to this day, when she had learned to crawl, we had to baby-proof our apartment. Now that our daughter is a year older, she is capable of so much more mischief. So, we’ve had to upgrade and “toddler-proof” the house…
Just to recap:
The suffix “-proof” is added to nouns, and means “to give protection from a particular thing”. For example:
“Fire-proof” is protection from fire, and “water-proof” is protection from water. A “toddler” is a child between the ages of one and three. To “toddler-proof” something can have two meanings. It can mean protection from toddlers, and also protection for toddlers (i.e. to make a place safe for toddlers)
First was the stairs.
We have stairs now, and as you can imagine our daughter loves to go up and down them. But, they are made of wood, so very hard and dangerous. To fix that we installed agate.
The kitchen is a place of adventure.
It has drawers filled with things that she take out and drop all over the floor. Not only that, but there is also the gas stove, rice cooker, microwave oven, and toaster that she likes to turn on. Our daughter is very kind. Sometimes she’ll even turn all four on at the same time for us. My wife claims it’s difficult to cook, but I can’t imagine why, when she has someone in there being so helpful. Anyway, we now have a gate at the front of the kitchen as well.
The dining room table also has many treasures.
We are still the process of unpacking, and in the dining room there are a few boxes left to unpack. When we unpack a box, we don’t always know where to put the stuff, so it goes on the dining room table for the time being. This makes the dining room table a treasure trove of stuff for my daughter. As soon as our backs are turned, she is up on a chair pulling stuff off the table and dropping it on the floor. There is no gate for this, so all we can do for now is turn the chairs on their sides.
One the joys of this place is the bath.
Now we have one with a circulating water heater. Whereas at the last place I used to come home from work and bath my daughter in a baby bath, now we have a bath together. She looks forward to baths now. If she sees me taking my shirt off, she walks straight to the bathroom while taking her own off. The only problem is she tries to get in the bath herself. That is okay if there is an adult present, but very dangerous if she decides to have a bath without us knowing. Fortunately, there is a lock on the bathroom door. We are in the habit of locking it now.
Finally, there’s the toilets.
We now have washlets which have control panels with buttons and lights. Also, rolls of toilet paper which can be unrolled into large screeds. The toilets are irresistible for my daughter. Fortunately, they too have locks, which can be opened with coins. We have gotten into the habit of locking them too.
From time to time I forget though. The other day, I suddenly noticed our daughter was nowhere to be seen. After a quick check around the house, I noticed the toilet door was ajar. I cautiously opened it, and found her standing there feeding one of the rolls of toilet paper into the toilet. She spotted me, and knowing she was about to be whisked away, frantically started pushing the buttons on the washlet. A large jet of water shot up, and I lunged for the stop button, but was too late. My shirt got soaked! All I could do was shake my head and take off my shirt. Upon seeing that, our daughter ran straight to the bathroom taking her shirt off as she went…
There will no doubt be other things that come up as our daughter makes new discoveries, both in and around the house, and in what she can do. As she does, we’ll think of new ways to make the place safe both for and from her.
Even though she is discovering new things by the day, she has still kept some of her old habits. We have kept the padding on the coffee table back from when we first baby-proofed our apartment, because she still loves a good chew. Actually, I think we are on our third generation of padding….
See you next month!
Hello! My name is Simon.
I am from New Zealand, and have been living and teaching English in Japan since 1999.
My hobbies include movies, playing the guitar, gardening and hiking.