As we saw that Aria was becoming more mobile, we started evaluating if our living room was safe for her and if we needed to make some changes. We don’t have a playpen, so Aria has access to the whole living room at all times.

We started by making two changes:

  • We removed our coffee table. It’s one of those design glass tables that easily flips if you put any weight on the side. It would have been dangerous for Aria and my table.
  • We moved some cabinets in front of some electrical sockets and cables, so she wouldn’t be able to play with them.

As she started exploring the living room, we also noticed new hazards. I got nervous about some sharp corners, so I bought some corner protectors for them. She also discovered the bowl with cat food in the living room. Instead of taking it away, we went with another solution.

to explore cat food or not to explore cat food

Our living room is on the first floor. One of our cats is old, and to encourage her to eat more, we put her food in the living room. These are hard round little balls of food. Super interesting for Aria and also a choking hazard. Aria would go to them all the time.

One option was to remove the cat food from the living room. This would solve the problem. Instead, I went for an alternative solution, not knowing if it was a great or a horrible idea. I let Aria play with the food.

I stayed very close to her to prevent her from putting any of it in her mouth. She started removing all the food from the bowl, going through it with her hands. She loved it. And I worried, was I teaching her that it was ok to touch the cat food? (For me this is also about choosing carefully when to say no, but that’s for another post 🙂 )

I had reasoned that she was curious about the food. Once she would satisfy her curiosity, she would move on.

She went to the cat food again and again. Sometimes it wasn’t a good time for me, because I didn’t have the time or mental space to be patient while she would take all the food out, and I would tell her that.

I didn’t count the number of times she played with the food, but my guess is six times. I already forgot about it, because she hasn’t done it in weeks. She moved on and lost interest. It worked.

evaluating risk vs learning experiences

We could have just taken the food out, and that little table with our books, and the glass lamp, etc. Eventually, we would have been left with an empty living room. Our daughter wouldn’t get to satisfy any of her curiosities or learn not to destroy our lamp or books. I didn’t want that.

Instead, we try to ask ourselves what the risk is and how we can approach it. Maybe she will move on after she got the chance to explore it, like the cat food. Perhaps we need her to stay close to her when she’s exploring something a little bit more risky, like petting the cats gently. Or in other cases, I feel that even if we’re close, she might fall in an unfortunate way and really hurt herself if we wouldn’t use the corner protectors.