My baby isn't walking...yet. He is however crawling quickly, pulling himself up on furniture and walking around things. Today I even found him in the lounge room with a bag of cat food that he had dragged in from the kitchen! People have started commenting on how much we'll need to change our house around and 'baby proof' everything. I started questioning this. I don't recall my parents having child locks or gates around the house, and I'm certain their parents wouldn't have used these things. I think they might be a 21st century parenting invention. Obviously the safety of our kids is paramount, but there are learning opportunities for our children in NOT having these high tech 'safety' gadgets and attachments.
: : We think it is important for Elijah to learn what 'no' means. We combine the Makaton sign language (baby sign language) with the word 'no' or 'stop'. We use this when he is approaching danger or something we don't want him to touch, and he understands wonderfully. (we have used baby signing since birth and have found it very helpful). It's amazing to watch him get closer to our gas heater and do the 'stop' sign before he gets too close.
: : We have allowed him to play with all the books on the shelves he can reach, and pull out all the DVDs etc. He initially thought this was the best game ever, but soon tired of it, and now is relatively unfazed by the aspects of our home environment that are unchanging.
: : Good old fashioned supervision. We watch him, or at least talk to each other from different rooms so I can hear he is happy and safely playing.
: : Keeping the house tidy. I have to admit this one is a work in progress. I like the idea of having a clean, tidy and streamlined house, but alas, most of the time I don't. When we do though, I can relax much more about Elijah not finding something dirty to put in his mouth.
: : We put the cat food out of reach. Somehow it's just far too enticing and he'll make a b-line across the room to get to it before you've turned around.
: : We encourage exploration and actively take him into all rooms of the house and talk about and explain what we are doing and what things do.
While we are on the topic of baby safety, I've been thinking about this fabulous red rocker which was my sisters. I'm fairly sure your average baby shop wouldn't sell something without a proper seat and harness these days, but where would the fun be in that!? This little number from the '80s will never lose its attraction. You can climb, rock, stand, wriggle and dance on it. The balance, co-ordination and muscle development that it is fostering is obvious. Sure, you can slip easily. We all did it. That's why its fun :)