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January 29, 2012

Letting My Guard Down


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.


championm2000 said...

I am laughing at the mental picture of the girls swinging from the chandelier...hahaha

As someone who has to open a gate each and every time she goes upstairs, I understand how big this milestone is! Congrats!

Olusola said...

Love it. One brave step for you. I'll be on Mandy patrol for the next one week then.

Marcia (123 blog) said...

Mandy, you KILL me!

I have that image of you stuffed in the oven now with those sweet babies wreaking havoc in mind :)

Our house is all open plan except for the 3 bedrooms and the main bathroom and those rooms always have the doors closed. My kids have had the run of the house since they started walking at 17 months (I was very glad for late walkers) and it is NOT easy to keep things clean and tidy this way!

James said...

Mrs. Mandy, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the family, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mrs. Mandy, open this gate. Mrs. Mandy, tear down this wall!

James said...

With our first child, we probably had 70 feet of gating running through our house. With the twins, it was maybe down to 40 feet. Now that we're on numbers four and five there's not a single gate in our house.

Oh sweet freedom.

Julia said...

As you know, our kitchen/dining room is gated off as well. I'm very interested to see how this goes with your girls.

It makes me gulp and to think about it for our girls at this point.

Sending many good thoughts and vibes your way! :)

Anonymous said...

:) it will be fine!!! our kids have had the run of the house for the last few months and it was not as bad as i thought it would be. it's all about limits and being clear, right??

good luck!! can't wait to hear how it goes!!!

cat said...

They will be fine, as you will be. Best of luck

cat said...

They will be fine, as you will be. Best of luck

Mandy said...

I have yet to get around the baby proofing, aside from 4 outlet covers. The girls were never penned. I learned to trust them and they now have a pretty solid idea of what can and can't be touched. Have a little faith, and a few glasses of wine!

Barbara Manatee said...

You'll be fine (although I couldn't help but giggle over the image of the girls taking over...)

We had the placed locked down like Alcatraz when the twins were little...but by the time Adam was mobile, Jacob and Sarah had a lot of independence and the gates here and there became more of a hindrance than help. So we took down the ones from the living room/kitchen/dining room areas I think before Adam was 1 or 2. We left the ones on the stairs until this spring although we rarely used them anymore...but when we redid the living room they came off and never went back up.

Its definitely a big leap and they may test the waters but they'll be fine (and so will you! ha!).

Holly Ann said...

We still have our gate up for Dawson! I have no intention of taking it down until he is at least three, so don't feel bad at all! The way I see it, it's plenty for me to deal with having the 4-year-olds running all over the house. The 2-year-old can remain happy as a clam in his big playroom. ;)

Wiley said...

This is a lot in a short period! Milk and gates?!?

We've never actually gated or really baby proofed. But between going to a nanny so little people will be in the house more and doubling our numbers to four with three of them under 18 months, it's going to have to be necessary.

Part of the reason I didn't do it with our oldest son is our house just isn't well designed for it. The stairs have a rounded banister and so no real structural support and there are doorways way to wide plus one too small! That and our first son never got into trouble plus a bit of procrastination and it has never happened. Guess it needs to happen!

Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

I think it's awesome that you took that very big step. It's hard, but you gotta get to the point where you realize that it's their house too.

Husband freaked out the other day when one of the Crazies went up the stairs. I said to him, "it's their house too and if they want to go to their room, they're allowed to go to their's not a big deal...we all live here." I don't think he got it. He still wants to maintain that control, but we live here as a family now and we've gotta deal with that. My only standing rule is to tell an adult when you're coming DOWN the stairs b/c I get all sweaty and nervous!