Honest Motherhood: Dangerous Escapades

 Leo is now ten and a half months (we’re still doing the halves) and wonderful but also a terror. He is everywhere.He can climb the stairs, bring himself to stand and has successfully negotiated the tricky multi-level junction at the top of our landing. Whilst he’s mastered standing, getting back onto his bottom is still proving problematic. We do get some tears when he’s unsure of quite how to bring himself down, often landing on top of something hard and block-like in his playpen. But mostly, like all babies he is fearless. I on the other hand carry enough fear for the both of us. I don’t even like him playing near the landing stair gate. What if, with all his tiny strength, and possible poor fixtures, he manages to whack it right off? What if someone left it wide open, or worse, dubiously shut but un-clicked, therefore precariously open. This happens a lot and has been the root of several conflicts already. 
“JUST BECAUSE IT LOOKS SHUT DOESN’T MEAN IT ACTUALLY IS!!”
I roar to no one in particular, but also always Joel. 
To buy myself some time in the mornings, I’ve lined the corridor on the landing with toys and a box of things I know Leo likes to play with/study intently. Ideally we’d have a cage (playpen) on every floor, but a selection of random objects can often see him through my rather basic routine. (Teeth, face and a shower if I’m lucky.)This week’s box contains a paintbrush, some old concealer, a tennis ball, a pocket mirror and a plastic bat (for ball-based activities).

It’s all fun and games until he inevitably comes across something potentially harmful. A chest of drawers (hello teeny jammed fingers), a full-length mirror (he finds his reflection so amusing he often wants a closer look, attempting to pick up the long adult mirror and survey his features in more detail) and one unavoidable household necessity; door hinges. The boy will sit for as long as he can, opening and closing a door (ideally with me on the same side), before discovering the riveting gap that exists between the door and its frame. He’ll spend a merry moment with his fingers in the gap before the suspicious silence prompts me to get up and ruin his fun. And ruin I do. Like anyone really, the little man does not appreciate being removed from his dangerous escapades. If he’s having a particularly good time, he will wriggle and cry (loudly, in my ear) as I haul him away to safer territory. 

We’ve had some hairy moments. In a hurry one morning, I thoughtlessly left him just by the cage (playpen) whilst I dashed to the toilet. When I returned, he was halfway up our stairs. We made arrangements for a downstairs stair-gate that evening. 
Recently Leo has audibly resisted playing in his pen (where he is safest) alone, but seems perfectly happy when accompanied, specifically by his big sister. Unfortunately the feeling is not always mutual. In my fleeting attempts to get anything done around the house, I have taken to occasionally bribing the older child to help me with the younger one. The ethics is questionable but I feel it works out well for both of us. Yesterday I managed to shower (no hair wash), change the nappy bin, put on laundry, clear the kitchen and make dinner whilst Maia sat with Leo. She wasn’t thrilled about it, and kept trying to leave to go and watch T.V. 
“No wait! He’ll cry if you leave! PLEASE STAY!!”
Maia, milking the situation for all its worth: “What can I have?”
Me, desperate: “You can have MALTESERS.. as a snack…PLEASE…I need you…” 
Maia: *Exaggerated eye roll* “Fine Mummy…How many am I allowed?”
“ALL OF THEM.”

Win win.