All parents get to the stage when their child starts to become mobile that they need to make sure that their home is safe for the child and no harm can come to them. We didn't have to think about this till much later on as Roo didn't walk till he was 2 yrs old. Although he learned to crawl a few months before hand he didn't explore as his understanding was very poor and he was like a 6 mth old baby at the time... but as he has gotten older , he has made some progress but its clear to see that he has learning difficulties and is delayed in all areas of his development. We have had to go a bit further than just baby proof our house - we have to Roo proof it as he doesn't understand instructions, or you explaining something on very simple terms..we have to show him through expression and visual aids but he doesn't always even understand that and often forgets when we have told him "no" and he will just do it again and again every day... its a slow process but one day we hope that he will understand not to do the things he currently does..
We currently have stair gates at the bottom and top of stairs and a stair gate for the kitchen. The kitchen is one place which Roo loves as he now understands that its related to food and he would just eat all the time if he could. Due to his no awareness of danger he thinks nothing of grabbing a knife off the kitchen worktop, turning the cooker knobs and so on... its hard to balance caring for Roo while in the kitchen so if I'm on my own I have to leave the gate open so that I can watch what Roo is up too while I'm making his lunch/dinner or a cup of tea... I really need eyes in the back of my head as I need one eye on him at all times and the other on what I am doing...he loves to open cupboards and take everything out so I bought locks for them that look like this -
these lasted a week before they broke due to Roo's brute strength!! So next step was to buy the ones that go on the inside of the cupboard but oh no that didn't stop him...he learned that if he held onto the handle and lean backwards wiggling it would eventually click open!! Nothing is safe! He has had a growth spurt so can reach many things on the worktops so all knives have to be moved higher or into a locked drawer, any dishes left will be chipped or smashed if I'm not quick enough! The cooker knobs are very interesting according to Roo... One day a few weeks ago I checked on Roo and he was sitting in the doorway happily playing with a wooden spoon so I heard the kettle boil so I turned round put my hand on the cooker to lean on while pouring a cuppa...I was stirring when I realised my hand was getting warmer and warmer...I looked down to see the cooker was switched on....cue me panicking and switching it off and Roo was standing behind me all innocent looking! I so need eyes in the back of my head....If I leave him outside the gate he will wreak the rest of the house where as if he is with me at least I can watch him and interfere if needed but boy its becoming harder work to do anything as I'm constantly running after him and turning things off that he has turned on!
We have this past week had to go to the shop to buy more locks but for the cupboards in the hallway as Roo is now strong enough to pull them open...One cupboard is full of art stuff for my older two and Roo loves sneaking a pen out and hiding under the table to do some art on my walls or stand at the door and draw on the wall there! I must have his art work practically in most rooms! It doesn't help when your older children claim to have tidied up yet failing to see the bright orange pen in front of them and put everything away except for the rather bright orange pen and when Roo gets hold of it they just shrug their shoulders and say "I wonder where that came from cos I did put EVERYTHING in the box"!
We have a downstairs toilet which has to be locked from the outside as Roo is obsessed with water and last time he flooded it we decided that it had to be locked from the outside all the time which is a pain when you are desperate and run to the toilet only to smack your face in the door because its locked! Yesterday older son "forgot" to lock the toilet after he had finished and in the 30 seconds I took my eyes off him it was enough for him to get into the bathroom and by the time I got there he had the whole top half of him down the toilet and was splashing away in glee...I ran to get him out and he was laughing..his bottle of juice was in the toilet too...fished it out and picked Roo up and took him for a thorough wash . I think I need to get a big sign in lights to say "lock the toilet when you are finished!" so that the boys remember!!
And the latest safety hazard Roo has discovered is that he is strong enough to open the front door! Imagine my horror when I was talking to hubby and felt a breeze..I turned and saw the front door open a little...I looked around confused and then it hit me...Roo was gone...I never felt so ill in my life..thankfully Lucas had seen Roo go out and he was bringing him back inside when I got to the door...My heart was pounding as although we live in the end of a street there are still quite a few cars that come up and turn round. At first I thought it was Lucas fault for not shutting the door properly but he insisted it was Roo...refusing to believe him I secured the door and then stood Roo in front of it to see what he would do and I was convinced he wouldn't do anything as he never has in past...well he just grabbed the handle and using both arms pulled and pulled till the handle clicked and opened the door to my utter amazement...so now we have to lock the doors at all times no matter what...Its so stressful esp more so that we are deaf so i cant hear if he was to open the door so I am constantly watching him, constantly asking everyone else - "is the door locked" as I'm so worried something will happen.
I know having a disabled child is hard work but to have a disabled child that is mobile but with the understanding of a baby is so so so hard as he simply doesn't understand why its dangerous, why its not allowed, he simply doesn't have any sense of danger whats so ever and with the many things that have happened recently I have to be on constant alert so I cant even relax for five mins on the sofa unless he is strapped in or sitting right next to me...if I go to the toilet he has to come unless my husband is around. I thought it would just be simple baby proofing our home but its turning out not to be as simple!! My older boys say its like being in a prison sometimes with everything under lock and key but what else can we do.. his safety is important as one day I fear he will seriously hurt himself....