Burning down the house

When I hear that something is bullet proof I believe that it can stop bullets, likewise when I hear that something like a safe is burglar proof I know that it stops thieves. So my question is this, what the hell does baby proof mean? I know they don’t mean that it stops babies because as any parent will tell you, babies, when they set their sights on something, are unstoppable.
When Leon first began to crawl around I took to baby proofing like a green party councillor to a tree planting ceremony. I crawled about on my belly in order to have a baby’s eye view of our home, I bought every cupboard lock and  plug guard I could find and I even bought a roll of bubble wrap and covered anything without a rounded edge in a foot deep layer of bubbles (obviously after I had popped half the roll with my fingers). I did everything humanly possible, short of covering him in bubble wrap, to protect my boy.
All to no avail. As any parent will tell you it is impossible to completely baby proof your environment. I think it was the third time I found Leon happily chewing on bubble wrap like some old time gold prospector with his ‘tobaccy’ that I began to realise that I was fighting a losing battle. So it was with a much less optimistic heart that I began the job anew recently. I called on all my experience from Leon and set to work.
This was a couple of months ago and I honestly can’t think of a worse waste of my time. Wee Sam has an appetite for destruction Genghis Khan would have envied.
I was upstairs the other day cleaning the bathroom (Yes, some men clean the bathroom. Albeit yearly) and Sam was pottering around upstairs with me thanks to a sturdy stair gate. I was getting quite involved in a particularly stubborn toothpaste stain when I became aware of the silence. Not the, Oh my God there’s something wrong, silence. Rather the, oh my God he’s up to something, silence. It was with a growing sense of dread that I walked into the nursery to find that my fears had been all too real.
My darling wee Sam sat there with an enormous grin of pride on his face as he displayed his handiwork. He was covered, and that’s no exaggeration, in Sudocrem. Literally from the top of his wee blonde head to the tips of his tootsies. Not content with just using himself as a living canvas he had managed to smear white goo over practically every available surface, walls, cot, changing table and most destructively of all over half the carpet. All this in less than five minutes.
I don’t know if you have ever had to clean up after a visit from the Sudocrem fairy but let me just say to whomever makes that product. If you ever have to get out of the baby market there is a real use for your product as an industrial adhesive.
Once I had finished the monumental clean up job and had put the by now perfect skinned baby down for his nap I began to wander round the house examining the other signs of my wee boys handiwork. I started to notice that everything up to around the height of my waist was covered in a thin veneer of baby drool and possibly jam. There was half a bagel in the DVD player and the coffee table has bite marks on three of it’s legs.
I asked other friends if their toddlers were as bad and was, I must admit, quite reassured by their tales of woe.
One friend of mine had three hundred euros “posted” into a slot in his gas fire and only noticed when it combusted that evening during Fair City. Yet another told me of his brand new mobile phone staring up at him as he lifted the toilet seat to take a pee.
My absolute favourite however is one friend of mine who had to explain to his boss why the company’s van had been redecorated along one side with some form of arcane toddler hieroglyphics permanently inscribed by a sharp stone.
By the time Sam hits three I am going to have to employ a decorator, a plumber, carpet fitters and at least one team of builders just to repair the damage he has done.
I don’t want to sound like some loony conspiracy theorist but I find it hard to believe that these are all accidents. I am beginning to think that toddlers are in league with the government in an attempt to bolster the labouring construction industry.
All this time I thought that baby proofing was to protect the babies. I now know that we are the ones who need protection from them.

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