Being a parent is a learning curve, a slow study in how to look after a vulnerable little person. As they begin to crawl, climb and stand, the home becomes its own obstacle course with accidents lurking at every turn. It’s like living in a trash compactor with the walls perpetually closing in.
Suddenly, every sharp corner, open plug socket and coffee cup becomes a potential hazard. I’d already taken steps to make the house safer for the baby, having moved my Star Wars collection from the living room. Recently, I shuffled around the furniture, clearing as much floorspace as possible for Lorelei to crawl around and play on.
But for every obvious danger, there’s a hundred other subtler ways for your baby to get hurt. Every week seems to bring new dangers, new ways for us to worry. Before, I’d always thought baby-proofing the home was overly cautious. But now that I’m a parent myself, I’m rushing around plugging up every exposed plug socket, putting child-proof locks on cupboards and installing stairgates.
There’s the temptation to eliminate every danger, put padding around every hard surface and corner, but babies need to make mistakes. They need to trip and fall and, at the risk of quoting Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, pick themselves back up again. Besides, it quickly becomes apparent that babies will always find a way to hurt themselves. For Lorelei, that means banging her head on the floor when she rolls back. What am I supposed to do, carpet the house in bubble wrap?
Living with a baby means making compromises and prioritising their safety and wellbeing, and I’m okay with that. It’s just all the dangers outside to worry about next.