I’m a little ashamed to say that our girls just turned three years old, and – through yesterday – we’ve continued to have them gated in the den.
In my defense, our den is big…it houses all their toys, and there’s plenty of room to run and jump and play. And, more important to note, our house is otherwise very open. There wasn’t a great way to open up just one or two rooms, and I just haven’t felt like I’ve been up for that challenge.
In hindsight, I might have taken the baby gates down long ago. It’s been a little cumbersome (and back-breaking!), lifting them over the gate 100 times a day. And it’s been a bit embarrassing to have people over at times (although I’m hoping that’s my mind playing tricks on me…I think all our friends understand, “ya do what ya gotta do”).
Still, this system has worked for us. I just didn’t feel like my nerves were up to what I anticipated would be some pretty extensive behavior modification.
(I should also note that we haven’t done any baby-proofing in the kitchen. It’s something that Hubby has been quite opposed to, and I just couldn’t trust being able to turn in one direction, risking the girls getting into something dangerous in another direction.)
I wrote a couple of weeks ago that our girls have FINALLY started to respond to time-outs…as in, they HATE it. Woo hoo!!! Having that as a behavior deterrent (as part of the 1-2-3 Magic methodology) has worked wonders for us all.
That in place, I decided it was finally time to take down the big gate dividing the den from the breakfast area / kitchen. (I also reached a compromise with Hubby and put two cabinet locks on the cleaning supplies.)
When the girls woke up this morning, they came downstairs to find their play tent from Aunt Alison set up in the den.
Wowza!!! Who would want to leave that kind of fun???!!!
And so far, so good! I’ve reminded the girls a few times that the den is for playing, the kitchen is not. The same rules apply as always…no reaching up on tables / counters…no crawling or running on the wood floor…you have your cabinets (in the play kitchen), and Mommy has hers.
This feels like a long-overdue change in a lot of respects, but I’m hoping – having waited so long (???) – that it won’t be as bad as I’d feared.
Still…if you don’t hear from me for a couple of days…please stop by to check. There is a remote possibility that the girls will have stuffed me into the oven and are swinging from the chandelier.