Upon moving into this apartment, Ian and I gave great thought to the style and layout of our new surroundings. Our goal, aside from comfort and whatever aesthetic sensibilities we could muster together, was to construct an environment where Max could explore freely and safely. We did not want to spend all of our time enforcing a long list of rules about what not to touch, where not to go, and how not to behave. Since we have sustained no major injuries or nervous breakdowns in the year that we have lived here, we celebrate the triumphant achievement of our goal. Sort of.
The problem is, Max keeps growing. Older. Taller. Stronger. And worst of all, smarter. It has become painfully apparent that we cannot simply baby-proof our home once and then rest on our laurels forever after. We cover the outlets, Max becomes dexterous enough to uncover them. We put dangerous things up high, Max gets tall enough to reach them. We buy climb-friendly furniture, Max uses it as a stepping-stone to reach and scale less climb-friendly structures. All our meticulous planning seems to have bought us nothing more than a dangerously false sense of security.
One of Max's favorite new ways to demonstrate our laughable naivety to us is by messing with the sideboard. We bought the sideboard to store our stereo equipment, and we were thrilled with the fact that its drawers were too difficult for Max to open, its top too high to allow him access to the record player, and its sides too streamlined to allow Max to climb it. In the last few months, however, its integrity has been breached on all fronts. Max figured out how to open the drawers, necessitating a jury-rigged locking technique that hermetically seals the sideboard against any practical use by even the most dexterous adult, but that still only keeps Max out 50% of the time. He has gotten tall enough to easily reach the record player, a problem we have yet to solve. And, as seen here (you've been wondering when the pictures and the narrative were going to come together, I know, and I appreciate your patience), he has found a way to scale the unscalable sideboard. He will wait until I have just settled in to nurse Maggie, and cannot get up easily. Then, he will climb onto the --? (whatever its called, some amplifier or something, that has to be on the floor right next to the speakers or the whole musical experience becomes unlistenable, according to Ian), look over at me to make sure he has my attention, and say, "No, no! No, no Max! No, no Mama!" in delighted anticipation of the interaction he is about to have with me. I will usually try asking him to get down first, because I know it won't work and I evidently enjoy fruitlessness. When I have satisfied myself that nope, just asking isn't going to do the trick this time, either, I will stand up and head over to enforce the rules in a more direct way. Inevitably, this dislodges the urgently nursing Maggie, who adds her forceful objections to the chaos. Of course, as soon as Max sees me actually up and headed his way --
-- he flees the scene, and thereafter behaves as if he has never even heard of such a thing as sideboard climbing. Until I sit down to nurse Maggie again. It kind of bugs.
Most unfair of all, if Ian or I are even the tiniest sliver of a bit stern with him, Max busts out this 'Do You Still Love Me Even A Little Wee Bit?' look, and we wind up feeling terrible. I have tried sitting him down and telling him that we give him few restrictions, and that the rules that we do have are in place to ensure his safety and help shape him into a secure and well-rounded person. Midway through my speech, he climbed onto the kitchen table and commenced a Coyote Ugly style bar dance routine until he was apprehended.