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Our House is not Childproof

One of my highlights over the past few months is a group of women I cook with. We have been getting together about once a month, at different houses, and I’ve enjoyed these dates immensely. All of the women in the group except me are from either Guatemala or Mexico, which means that I’ve been learning to cook many delicious foods that I’d never previously heard of.

Many of these foods, as delicious as they are, I will never try again because they are deep fried in oil which:

1) seems especially unhealthy to me and

2) scares me. (Picture me working as a cook for a camp. Picture me and one of the other cooks making lunch one day: hush puppies fried in oil and fish fried in oil. Picture us both with our backs turned for a minute – a minute. Picture ceiling-high flames. Picture a lot of baking soda everywhere. Picture all of the hungry campers eating leftover pea soup and lukewarm hotdogs. Enough said.)

In any case, I do enjoy these cooking dates, as much for the company and the chance to practice Spanish as for the food.

Last night it was my turn to host our little group. I think I have to put quite a bit more brainpower into getting ready to have the group to my house, and that is because I am the only woman in the group who does not have children. Therefore, my house is the only house in the group that is neither child-friendly nor childproof before the ladies come.

I thought hard. “Toys!” I thought. “They will bring their kids, so I should have some toys available.” So I borrowed some toys from the library story hour supplies. And as an extra flair, I checked out some board books from the library for the kids to look at.

“DVDs!” I thought. So I tied the door handles to our DVD cupboard together so no little ones could get in there to play.

“Chocolate!” I hid the bowl of chocolate that normally sits on our coffee table in our bedroom.

“Books!” I took most of the books that would be in reach and hid those in the bedroom as well.

In spite of my careful preparation, these are a few things I learned from having a toddler in our house last night:

1) Carpet in the kitchen is always bad idea. Carpet in the kitchen is an especially bad idea when eating chili. With toddlers. Who want to feed themselves.

2) Chocolate desserts are probably also not a good idea when toddlers are in the fully-carpeted house, especially when they may make a mad dash with a fistful of it.

3) We will not have glass coasters when we have toddlers. Even though they survived one night, they were used as cymbals more than once. I don’t think they will be asked to survive years of toddlers.

4) Heavy glasses are not suitable beverage holders for toddlers.

5) Yarn tied around door handles, even when the yarn is knotted, is not enough to fend off a persistent toddler.

6) Magnets look delicious and therefore must all be tasted. Magnets should be out of reach of toddlers unless they are meant to go in mouths.

7) Everything that is just out of reach but still in sight is probably the most interesting thing a toddler could possibly find to play with and must therefore be reached, no matter the cost.

8) Crayons are for eating. According to toddlers.

9) Food that is not available to be eaten at a given time should not be on eye level with toddlers, even when the food happens to be raw potatoes or seasonings.

10) Candles in glass jars on the coffee table? Mmm-mmm. Nope.

I learned a lot.

Our house simply is not yet childproof.

“But,” I told Mark last night as we scrubbed chocolate goo off the cupboard doors and picked up stray beans and rice crispies, “I haven’t changed my mind about wanting one.”

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