Is Your House Child-proofed or Dog-proofed?

My house is not set up for children. My ruby glass collection is in easy reach for a toddler. My guitars sit where little fingers could destroy them. All of the cupboards, including those with toxic cleaners, are easily opened by anyone with hands. There are no covers on the electrical outlets, no parental controls on the TV or any other media, no toys, no sippy cups, no child-sized furniture. I have no recorded children’s music or shows. I do not have children or grandchildren. My great nieces and nephew live far away. Most of my friends are older than I am. Children do not come here. It’s a child desert.

But the house is dog-proofed. When Annie and her brother were puppies, we had a baby gate and pee pads. As a grown dog, Annie has a doggie door to get in and out. I’m careful to leave the front door and the door to the garage closed at all times. I put nothing on or near the floor that she might eat, things like paper clips pencils, socks, glasses, my phone, or food. When I bake cookies, I cool them on a high counter because she cannot jump anymore. Nor can she open the cabinets, so whatever is inside is safe.

Visitors don’t understand. Workmen regularly leave their stuff where Annie can grab it. Nails, gloves, stray pieces of plastic or rubber, meters and tools or all sorts are fair game in her territory. I warn them, but most don’t take heed until we’re pulling contraband out of her mouth. She’s an old dog, but she will still nab things, haul them to her favorite spot in the yard, and chew them to death. Annie regularly grabs papers out of my recycle box. I can’t count how many pens I have found in pieces in the back yard. My song list has a mouth-sized bite out of it. Some of my doors and furniture have tooth marks where Annie or another dog has chewed. Most little kids don’t do that.

Then again, I don’t have Cheerios embedded in the carpet.

If children were coming, I wouldn’t know for sure how to prepare. I have been caught by surprise before by little ones snatching or breaking things that were important to me. Like the unsuspecting repairmen who find their tools in my dog’s mouth, I don’t know what they’ll get into until they do.

Check out this article on child-proofing your home. Oh my gosh, there’s a lot to do. Kids are clearly much more delicate and sneakier than dogs.

Not being a mom or a hands-on aunt, I have missed learning how to deal with having kids around. I feel bad about that. I suspect this all-adult life is missing something important. On the other hand, I’m kind of relieved I don’t have to deal with child-proofing. But I’m getting old. If I were going to have kids, that would have happened decades ago when I had the energy to deal with child-proofing. Yesterday I realized many of my friends are welcoming not just grandchildren but great-grandchildren. Good grief, another layer of childlessness to go through.

What do you all think? Are you prepared to welcome children into your homes? Are you more dog-proof than child-proof? Or am I the only clueless one out there?

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5 thoughts on “Is Your House Child-proofed or Dog-proofed?

  1. We had quite a hairy ride with a particularly difficult rescue dog. My heart bled when she had to be rehomed despite our absolute best efforts. It got me to a place where I sadly concluded adoption wasn’t for us.

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  2. I was thinking of this today as I was cleaning our 120 year old farmhouse. Our home is filled with breakable antiques and large wooden furniture that would not at all be safe for children to be around. I often tell my husband that our large home is too quiet, and I frequently turn on mindless TV comedies to fill the house with some noise. I often say that we are robbing this home of what it was built for. A family. We have several bedrooms that are closed off during the cold months. We have offices, a guest room (that is never used), and we even have a dog room. Just for our two large dogs. Completely decorated and safe with a padded floor and a TV to keep them safely occupied while we are at work. Our home is absolutely dog proofed , with high countertops and a security system to notify us if a door has been left open (for fear of one of them getting out). Our lives primarily revolve around our hyper hunting dogs and we always ensure that our home is safe for them. However we would be completely lost if small children came into our home. I have noticed as time has gone on that we don’t have any friends with children. A co-worker of ours told me recently that he and his wife would not come over for dinner as he would be afraid to bring his children into our home due to the lack of child-proofing. He also stated that his wife and I would have nothing in common, as I am too “selfish” to have children. If only he knew that I would trade the large perfectly clean and organized home for sticky fingerprints and toys on the floor anyway. I had another co-worker who once saw a picture of one of our refinished rooms and asked “where is all of the stuff?” As in she wanted to know where the bins of toys and disorganized child clutter was. She then quickly corrected herself to say “oh never mind. It’s just the two of you.” This is a very good point that while our dogs are not our children they sure make life more bearable in the absence of children running through our house. It is funny though that we put so much effort into dog-proofing our home, however we would be lost if children came in. Great topic. I hope you are well.

    -Lynne

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    • Aha, there are other people like me with dog houses instead of “family” houses. How rude of that co-worker! Folks don’t understand that we’d trade it all in a heartbeat. I am feeling much better, thank you.

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  3. I used to have a box of matches in my coffee table, for use when lighting mood candles! I found a friend’s toddler playing with them once – that was a close call. I moved them to a drawer – equally at toddler-level, but out of sight!

    My house is nothing-proofed. Let the dog/child owner entering my house beware! lol More than anything, we are semi-earthquake-proofed. We have more earthquakes than children or dogs in our house!

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