This is a belated post about an even more belated decision. We actually took the stairgate down a few weeks ago but I didn’t get round to blogging about it at the time (it’s now been long enough that the stairgateless top of the stairs no longer looks peculiar to me). However, it ceased to be able to perform its primary function of keeping our toddler away from the steps some months before that, when Jamie figured out how to open the childproof lock. Having done this, he rapidly invented the new game of Swinging On The Stairgate, which, despite the fact that the gate hinge is designed to be bidirectional, could apparently only be played with the gate opened over the stairwell and Jamie hanging over empty space.
In view of this transition of the stairgate from safety feature to apparatus in death-defying stunt, I ventured the suggestion that possibly the time had come to retire it from active use, but my husband insisted that Jamie was too sensible to let go and would be perfectly all right. (Hi, there, Social Services! Enjoying the blog?) For those of you currently sucking in your breath in horror, I’d like to point out that he was, as it turns out, quite right – Jamie always did hang on tight, and survived the experience totally unscathed. So we kept the stairgate for a month or so after this – Jamie did respect it as something of a boundary, in that he would open it but not climb through it, so Barry found it useful for letting him get downstairs to grab breakfast in the morning and bring it back up to his study.
However, it eventually dawned on Jamie that there was nothing to stop him simply climbing through it and crawling down the stairs, so, since it was now neither use nor ornament (having decidedly never been the latter), we took it down. So now Jamie can get from upstairs to downstairs and vice versa, unhindered. And he does. He’s also grown enough to reach most of the door handles in the house (including the one leading to the ensuite bathroom – must get a bolt for that at some point). He watches us most intently whenever we unlock a door to the outside, trying to figure out the Secret of the Keys. I’m rethinking my original plan to get him a passport. At the rate things are going, lack of documentation is going to be the only thing keeping him in the same country as us past his second birthday.
Incidentally, this is a child who was carried almost everywhere for the first six or seven months of his life. If any of you happen to encounter anyone who gives you that old myth about how you Must Put Them Down Or They’ll Get Spoilt And Dependent And Spend Their Lives Wanting To Be Carried Everywhere, do feel free to direct them to this post.