Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Home Court Advantage

After two excursions away from home base in as many weeks, I must say, I love the home court advantage.

Our house is brimming with kid-friendliness. Each room offers multiple distractions for toddlers (thanks to bountiful holidays and generous friends and family), safe and entertaining docks for babies (the excersaucer is infinitely popular right now), and a complete lack of decorative plates or candles below a four-foot level.

On top of the safe entertainment value of our house, add safety features. In addition to the timeless electrical outlet barriers, we have installed toddler door locks on all of the outside doors, the door at the top of the scary basement stairs, and even the inside knob on the door to Maya’s room (Don’t laugh at it... or call child services! It makes bedtime a snap, and we monitor them closely).

Of course dangers still lurk, and I’ve done my best to teach Maya not to fool around on the stairs, stand up in the bathtub, jump on furniture, or walk past the end of our driveway. We’re working on breaking her bed jumping habit (it was so cute when she was a bincy little 18 month old, but now she strong, tall, and jumps so wildly we fear for our light fixtures).

When we leave home base, however, Maya is woefully unaware of the dangers around her, which makes the adults in her life extra stressed when she’s on an adventure. After a long weekend at the farm, I’m beginning to recognize the need to actively teach her some basic rules for “big” kids.

For instance, after four days of playing zone defense on the two doors leading into the farmhouse, I’m committed to taking the toddler locks off of the garage door and teaching Maya not to leave without permission. It was just silly when she snuck out to let the muddy farm dog in, and then call out, “Mama, Naladog is ALL muddy!” Luckily, Grandma had a swiffer handy, and Maya cleaned up the mess.

But I’m nut sure we can head up to the lake cabin without teaching Maya not to go outside without an adult.

Also, our kid-friendly backyard is great for affording Joe and I some down time. The farm however, was brightly decorated with giant red machines with bright yellow ladders. In Maya’s world yellow ladders lead to endless playground fun, not certain catastrophe on an international combine.

So we’ll work on taking her places (sans Elliot Rose) without her stroller or a shopping cart, and teach her to heel and stay. Maybe we should just enroll her in a local obedience classes… Maya would surely love to have a beagle for a classmate after watching “It’s Flashbeagle Charlie Brown” all weekend (a great 80s spoof on Flashdance).

Of course, the baby proofing of our home is about to get stepped into high gear again. We’re dragging out the baby gates, touring the house with a toilet paper tube to remove all small items, and hiding our cat.

That’s right, Elliot Rose is crawling. Now the fun begins; we have two mobile kids!

Most likely we’ll be playing in our home court more than ever.

We dyed Easter Eggs during the blizzard Friday, trying to pass the time as Maya repeatedly shouted, "But I want to go to the farm right now!"

Grandpa treated Maya to several tractor rides. She loves it as much as I used to!

She just crawled to catch the measuring cup... do I see a professional baker? Food Network Challenge here we come!

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