January 08, 2008

My Life Is Over

Well, it has happened, much sooner than I had hoped. Kenna has mastered stairs--at least, going up them. Since she hasn't quite developed a good grasp of the concept of gravity, life as we know it is finished.

If you saw the pictures of our house, you can see the difficulty Kenna's new skill presents. With a sunken living room and family room, the only place to go (in Kenna's mind) is...up! I no sooner set her in the middle of the family room with some toys than she is scampering over to the stairs, climbing up them and proudly looking back at me as if to say, "Aren't you coming, too, Mom?!" She then scoots around the corner to the big staircase, at which point I am right behind her. I've allowed her to crawl up the carpeted steps several times, letting her get a feel for what could happen if she decides to sit down with a cheek hanging off a step. She hasn't fallen yet, but if it weren't for my hands right behind her she'd definitely have been in the ER.

Since I can't very well let her wander at will, I've tried being creative in order to pen her in. The gap between the family room and the dining room is too big for the gate we have, and even so, the wall curves at the only point we could lock it in place. So I've taken to laying two dining room chairs down beside each other. I learned quickly that I couldn't simply SET the chairs there--Kenna pushed and pulled one out of the way and escaped within moments. The first time I laid the chairs down I made the mistake of assuming that simply placing an obstacle before her would deter Kenna from trying the stairs. She crawled through the legs and became frantic when she realized she was trapped in a "pen."

Third time was the charm--I placed the chairs in a way so that Kenna could neither move them nor get caught in them. It worked. And we spent a lovely 20 minutes listening to her scream because I was fixing lunch in the kitchen and she was not.

This afternoon I tried taking a project to the couch so she could play with the obstacles in place and not be so upset that she couldn't be where I was. It worked! She explored her little domain quite happily. (Who needs toys, anyway?) I think we were in that room, Charis reading, I working on swap cards, and Kenna moving about, for at least a half hour before she got tired and started to fuss. Whew. There's hope for at least a minimum of activity during this phase!

We do playpen time one or two times every day, anywhere from 20-30 minutes, depending on how well Kenna is doing at the time. (In fact, that's the only reason I'm able to blog at the moment, since Ted is working late this evening.) Those times are when I can get a shower, answer some emails, or do something that involves not having to look over my shoulder every other second to see where my little Houdini has gotten herself.

I will say this is definitely throwing our school schedule for a loop! I don't feel safe doing school with Kenna on the loose, though now that we've gotten the chair wall to work, we can probably at least do our Sonlight reading in the family room while she roams. We've taken to cramming in as much school as possible during Kenna's morning nap, and the rest of the day kind of goes downhill from there.

I know we'll eventually get used to this phase. And Kenna will eventually learn how to navigate the stairs both ways so I won't have to worry about her killing herself. But then my worries will just be beginning...the rate she's going, she's going to be a pro mess-maker!


Sonshine said...

Oh your life isn't over, just a little more eventful! LOL My little one is to the stage of trying to walk and climbing on EVERY thing--from the stairs to the couch to the dining room chairs. So far I have caught him up on the dining room table just once! LOL And we have had no ER visits from his explorations yet.

The Litwillers said...

I love that inbetween, will-they-survive stage. And she sounds just like my Matthew. We called him a "free range" baby, because nothing could pen him in for very long!

Domestic Diva said...

Ahhh the baby stage...glad you found something to work for now anyway....

I really don't miss the babe stage...fun while going though it, but glad once you are out of it!

BTW...nice house! Congrats

Megan said...

That stage was so rough, especially with Sela. We didn't have stairs to worry about, but she tried climbing the front of a bookcase (had to bolt that to the wall) and figured out how to get into the dining room table shortly after her 1st birthday. At 15 months she was climbing onto a living room chair and into the large picture window and walking on the window sill three feet above the floor!

I didn't have a playpen for her but did stick her in her high chair with toys (or non-toys) when I needed her contained. There was no way to keep an eye on her while cooking or washing dishes unless I stuck my head out of the kitchen every 20 seconds.

I did use a playpen for Evan, but he figured out how to climb out of that around 15 months old, and I started worrying that he'd fall off the top of it and land wrong and break something.

Prayers for your sanity. I remember feeling so overwhelmed the first couple of weeks after a baby acquired a new level of mobility.

Bob & Claire said...

Well, I can say from vast unfortunate experience that a fall down the stairs is not the end of the world. We have 3 staircases here (2 up to the second floor, and one down to the basement), and Grace has fallen down the stairs 3 times. Yikes! I think Anna only fell down twice! : ) The first time Grace did get a humongous goose egg, and I had a nurse friend at co-op look at it, just to be on the safe side. I keep working with her on turning herself around, but so far she is not getting it at all. And her falls do not seem to have made her more cautious either--she still just sets out for the stairs as fast as she can go.

Now ironically I have had no problems with her even attempting to go upstairs, so I have no magic bullet to offer you there, LOL. It's sort of like the newborn thing though--only a phase, and most likely a brief one at that. Hang in there!!

Megan said...

Just checking to make sure you're all doing okay there with the newly mobile Kenna. It's been a week since you last blogged, and you've left us all hanging!