Remember when your kids were teeny and couldn’t move very far without your help? You know, when you could do crazy things like take a shower or eat a sandwich without fearing for their safety? Me too – many heart attacks ago. My husband has coined this the “Cirque Du Soleil” phase, as these fearless nuggets attempt gravity-defying acrobatics ALL DAY LONG.
They both have different approaches to their art. Abel prefers to go for height, seeking a way to the tallest point in the room. Extra points if this high point has adjacent danger, like the pellet stove just behind the changing table he just scaled. Calvin goes for agility, demonstrated by his ability to climb from the seat of his high chair, and sit ON THE TRAY happily swinging his feet in the time that I turned my back to grab their toothbrushes. I guess speed is also part of his repertoire. Unfortunately for him, this was a one-time trick, as the highchair seatbelt is now in permanent use.
Now that I’ve been a (unpopular) member of this troupe for a few weeks now, I have found some things that have helped our collective survival.
Redecorate. Now is not the time to be precious about what looks good. Gone are table lamps, pictures on end tables (glass breaking is also a skill), and even my stack of couch side cookbooks (not for safety, but to avoid my sadness after their demise). End tables now reside in awkward angles to prevent being used as a tunnel to reach the wires behind.
Embrace “no”. Months and months ago, while I looked at my two sweet babies, I remember thinking how it would be impossible to ever say no to them. Turns out that when one is trying to push the other off the coffee table upon which both are standing, it comes quite naturally. I do struggle with being consistent with it, but I do know they understand, as this one word is now met with frustrated screams.
Let them perform. What makes us all happiest is finding a place where they can climb and run, and I can breathe. We’ve had good luck at both the Rumpus Room in Brunswick, and the Children’s Museum in Portland. They also love the playground at the nearby elementary school, although it can be a bit stressful when they take off in opposite directions, which of course, is part of their act.