We’re on Day 5 of no baby gates. All in all and KNOCK ON WOOD, things are going pretty well…as usual, much better than the worst-case scenario / Mommy-stuffed-in-the-oven-while-the-girls-swing-from-the-chandelier I had imagined.
Granted, I have relaxed some of my standards. I would really like for the girls to hang out in the den unless they have a reason to be in the kitchen…but I quickly realized that’s probably unrealistic. Particularly when I’m in the kitchen, they want to wander in to see what’s going on, and I’m OK with that.
Nonetheless, I have held to most of my rules:
- The den is for playing; the kitchen is not.
- Toys stay in the den.
- Walk - don't run - on the wood floor (at least in theory).
- Do not sit on the wood floor.
- Do not reach up on the table or the counters.
- Do not open cabinets or drawers.
I was afraid the kitchen table would be a big lure, and I envisioned the worst of bumps and bruises – on the girls and on the furniture. We quickly reached a compromise, where the girls can sit at the table to read. (And how I love to see my babes propped up reading!!!)
Still, that has prompted us to add a new rule -- do not move the kitchen chairs.
One more rule I added -- ask Mommy before you throw anything away. (I didn’t think about it, but the girls have never had free access to a trash can!)
The girls have done a good job of not wandering into the dining room or the living room. They don’t see us spending much time in there, so maybe it doesn’t much occur to them. And they haven’t gone upstairs by themselves, save when I’ve gone up there to get something, which is probably understandable.
These past few days have been interesting for me, though, a combination of count it, and ignore it, while trying somehow to be consistent.
I know that the girls are exploring their boundaries, and some things probably just need to run their course. They’ll eventually realize that walking laps around the kitchen table is not very fun. It drives me a little batty, but I’m choosing to ignore it.
Other times, I’ve found myself being very strict about certain things, like opening cabinets. I think there is a certain example that needs to be set, that these are hard and fast rules. Three strikes, and you’re in time out, no questions.
Like any other transition, the past few days have been stressful…the girls, testing their boundaries, and me, trying to respond fairly, and in a way that helps them understand what’s expected of them.
And, although I didn’t think to expect it, this has been a very emotional few days, too. I look back to so many other transitions…most recently, potty training…when the girls are accepting new responsibilities. It must be a lot for them to process, and there’s definitely a heightened sense of emotion here.
Between the stress of trying to discipline the girls and the emotions running pretty high, this mama is pretty tired. I don’t usually think much about what day of the week it is…but this week I’m definitely looking forward to the weekend and having Hubby home.
And my guess is that this first week will be the toughest…that in another few days we’ll all have reached a new level of “normal”.
In the meantime, I’m so enjoying the open feeling to the house…not hurdling baby gates 100 times a day…and the idea – as Rebecca said – that “it’s their house, too”. It’s definitely a new level of “family”.