Our apartment isn’t that big, but we have had to put in some effort to baby proof it by reorganizing furniture. Most of the area that Baby J has access to is a “yes” space, and we usually just remove the small things that we don’t want her getting into. As such, we don’t put too many limits on her as far as the space she can explore.
However, our bedroom is a different story. We have outlets filled with plugs, some of which can be removed and some that can’t. It’s a pain to have to unplug and replug in things that we don’t don’t want her getting into every day. So, I’ve taken to trying to teach her that she can’t play with power plugs, despite how enticing they might be.
As one would expect, this hasn’t been the easiest of tasks. I’m trying to follow RIE parenting, so trying to teach her that she can’t play with power plugs has involved much physical blocking and repeatedly telling her: “I won’t let you touch that. It’s dangerous.” One time we even had a stand-off where she kept trying to grab for a plug about ten times. When it clicked that I wasn’t going to budge, she started crying. I emphasized with her (“You’re upset that I won’t let you touch the plug even though you want to play with it.”) and after some comfort from nursing, she was off on her way again to play with something else in our bedroom.
I’ve had to repeat the blocking a few times since then, but then the other day something different happened. She looked at the plug and was about to reach for it when I called her name. She stopped and looked up at me. I was standing a few feet away when I warned her: “I won’t let you touch that. It’s dangerous.” She looked back the plug and looked to be considering touching it. So I warned her again. To my surprise, she gave up on the plug and went to play on my futon.
Eventually, she made her way to the other power plug she’s not supposed to touch in the opposite side of the bedroom. I warned her again that she can’t touch it, and even more surprising than what happened just a few minutes before was the fact that she gave up immediately and crawled over to me with a smile on her face! I once read something along the lines that said that babies like having limits because it shows that someone is in control of the situation. I didn’t really buy it at first but now I have to wonder.
And then the next morning, the door to our bedroom was open so in she went to go greet daddy. She looked at the plug, considered it for a second, and then crawled on by without giving it a second thought. Success!
I know she’ll probably go after it again when she feels up to testing again, but for now I can’t help but feel proud of us both.