Thursday, September 12, 2013

Climbing to New Heights (My Nanny Diary)

I knew the time would come and probably sooner than later for these two, but oh-my-goodness, watch the heck out, the twins are climbing and scaling stuff!  By the time I’ve taken one of their trays into the kitchen, someone’s usually standing up on the sofa or the recliner trying to launch herself over the top of it.  The other day, one little livewire had climbed up into one highchair and had one foot in her seat and her other in her sister’s highchair, and she was looking upward likely wondering the best way to scale the wall.  Fortunately, her mom and I were both in the room watching her while we were talking, so we took turns pulling her down from her new favorite perch.   
Every stool, chair, sofa, shelf, toy of a certain height is an irresistible temptation for this dynamic duo.  With Sunshine using the potty and, at times, staying in the bathroom forever and a day “dawdling” (at least she knows a sophisticated word for what she’s doing), I often worry about making sure she closes the door while she’s in there and once she’s finished.  Her sisters make a beeline for that mostly off-limits room whenever they get a chance.  The step stool Sunshine uses would only give them extra help in falling headfirst into the toilet.  Since we have a little one using the potty somewhat frequently a child safety lock on the toilet would probably cause more accidents than it would be worth, so hyper-vigilance is definitely in order.   
They already trip, fall, roll over toys, run into furniture often enough that I can’t always pinpoint which particular incident it was that resulted in the bump on their head, the latest bruise on their arm, or scratch on their legs.  Heck, most of the time, I can’t even pinpoint exactly when I got most of my bumps, scratches, and bruises after a day with them. 
I never realized that I’d ever recall a little wistfully the days when I took care of two infant boys for several hours at a time predominantly in the kitchen and the bar room/area next to it when we were at one of the boys’ homes.  There wasn’t a whole heck of a lot for them to climb on.  They got to do most of their climbing at the nearby playgrounds in the neighborhood. 
Only in retrospect am I able to appreciate how convenient it was that the furniture in that section of the one house where I took care of them was so very sparse.  Two very tall chairs and a tall end table in between them (all too difficult for them to scale, thank goodness) were the only pieces in there when I started.  Eventually, a big leather bench and two highchairs were added along with a chair brought in for me from another room.  (Spending most of the eleven hours I took care of them sitting on the floor did not bode well for my back even when I was still in my twenties). 
When the boys got old enough to walk, everything (except for the bench that weighed probably over a 100 lbs) they regularly moved around both rooms.  The toy box they could climb up on and jump off of without getting hurt, and though they’d deposit lots of toys into the silver trash can where the dog food was kept, they weren’t able to scale it (or at least they refrained from doing so in my presence).  The safety issue there was the interesting allure of partaking in the dog’s sustenance, which was just big enough that it was a significant choking hazard. 
My toddler tagteam rearranged what little furniture they had access to more times than Martha Stewart probably does for a photo shoot.  I figured it was all good since they were building their muscles, keeping active without being violent or causing harm to anything, and their escapades weren’t leaving any marks on the tiled floor.  There was a time when I amused myself with the thought of hiring them out as moving guys because they became so efficient at it.  It got to a point when I’d be sitting in a chair reading to them one minute, then I’d get something from the kitchen and return to find my chair on the opposite side of the room.  Come to think of it, they couldn’t have been hired out as movers because they were actually efficient and didn’t break anything.  (Truth be told, my family has moved a ton of times, and we’ve had some incredibly hard-working, very careful movers over the years which mostly balance out those who have been a bit more lackadaisical when it comes to working and breakable items.) 

This week the twins have become proficient in climbing up into their high chairs, the recliner, the sofa, chairs, and if given the chance will begin to scale them.  It’s time to batten down that hatches, put plug covers in every plug that isn’t being used, lock-up the poisonous substances, latch the heavy furniture to the walls, and thank the Lord for guardian angels.
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