Guestproofing the Babyproofing

A relative tore the industrial-strength adhesive off the refrigerator safety catch. To be fair, it wasn’t his first try. He gave it two or three goes, exclaiming something about our appliances being stuck and rusty, before the catch finally gave way.

He’s not the only one. A lot of people who visit our house insist on pulling drawers and cabinets open with such force that they tear the baby-proof catches completely out by the screws. Another visitor — this one with two kids, no less — pulled the toilet-lid catch completely off by its hinges. (Actually, that last one I sort of get; if I were desperate and two inches of plastic stood between me and urinary relief, I’d probably do some damage too.)

But childless people don’t seem to get the gear, do they?

  • When a parent comes over to see our living room, they usually note how neatly we’ve got our moderate number of toys arranged in baskets. When a non-parent sees the same scene, they joke about our mountainous excess of toys.
  • Moms at the park rave about my home-made diaper bag insert system, with contents organized using a novel collection of lingerie bags and gallon-sized Ziplocs. Non-moms are aghast that I carry a ten pound shoulder bag on a two-hour outing.

I’m the first person to say that parents can go overboard with equipment, but there is a bare minimum you need to get by. And even that little bit of stuff can faze those who’ve never been faced by the strange and multifarious needs of an infant.