At nine months old, guess who just defeated her first “child-safe” device?

DMDFII looks pretty proud of herself in this pic, as she should.

In the usual parenting split Dr. Mrs. Dr. F. wants pretty much everything locked down and bumpered while I tend to take things more casually. Still, to please her I have started looking for alternatives. Maybe we should embrace the twenty first century and protect the toilet using an electronic lock with automatic online updates and encrypted two-factor authentication. I could link it up with the fridge and the gas furnace and give the system an innocuous acronym name like Handy Automated Living. What could possibly go wrong.

Chat about whatever.

75 replies
  1. 1
    c u n d gulag says:


  2. 2
    Richard Mayhew says:

    Who is so happy, who is so happy, yes you are, such a happy pseudo toddler —

    Tim — just wait, another couple of months and safety devices are merely distractions

  3. 3
    Older says:

    How did we ever manage to raise kids before all this safety was invented?

    Cute kid, and more to the point, smart!

  4. 4
    Mnemosyne says:

    That is definitely a born troublemaker right there.

    One of my earliest memories is that my parents had put a “child-proof” gate in front of my bedroom door because my room was right next to the stairs. Early one morning, I climbed over it, went downstairs, and made myself some frozen French toast in the toaster. What? I was hungry and no one else was up yet!

  5. 5
    scav says:

    Congrats to the safe-breaker! Onward and Upward!

  6. 6
    Morzer says:

    guess who just defeated her first “child-safe” device?

    Megan Mc *cough cough*

    I’ll come quietly, officer, I promise.

  7. 7
    Joel says:

    Your kiddo’s got a lot of hair. Mine is still a ways behind papa, at around the same age.

  8. 8
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, too, remember when you’re locking everything down to keep a couple of “safe” spots open for her to crawl to and goof off. My boss put child locks on all but one of the lower kitchen cabinets. She put a bunch of plastic Tupperware and other noisy-but-safe items into the unlocked cabinet so her twins could pull things out and have a good time without her worrying that they would get hold of something they shouldn’t have. It seems to have worked since they’ve both survived to age 4.

  9. 9
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Why is the box that diapers come in supposed to be child-proof? It’s been a long time since I’ve had diaper duty.

    But speaking of diaper duty, why is that a chore that has to be divided more or less equally, and yet cat puke or dismembered mice are forever just the man’s job?

  10. 10
    Morzer says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    My wife would like a word with you about cat puke. Dismembered mice, not so much.

  11. 11
    Eric U. says:

    I forgot about toilet locks, those things are annoying as hell.

    @Mnemosyne: lots of kids climb gates. Some parents end up using two. Neither of my kids ever decided they wanted to climb a gate. My daughter took longer to learn to crawl than I thought she would, but soon after that she could climb along the back of the couch, along the top railing of a crib, and over a short wall where she would promptly empty all the bookshelves within reach.

  12. 12
    flukebucket says:

    Happy Happy Times! It is way down the road for you I know but being a grandparent is even better than being a parent. Enjoy every single second of your life, no matter WHAT!

  13. 13
    MomSense says:

    Sooooooo adorable! She is quite pleased with herself!

  14. 14
    Ben Cisco says:

    using an electronic lock with automatic online updates and encrypted two-factor authentication.

    Sorry bud, if a hacker wants in, they’re getting in…

  15. 15
    Trinity says:

    Pure adorableness.

  16. 16
    Jay C says:


    How did we ever manage to raise kids before all this safety was invented?

    Simple! Every couple just about seven or eight kids! Given the odds, you were bound to have a few left over….

  17. 17
    JaneE says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Please, please, please tell my husband that the cat puke is his job.

  18. 18
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Eric U.:

    My parents bought a really tall one that left no space at the top of the doorframe for me to squeeze through. I was not happy about that.

    Then there was the time I got hold of my brother’s Cub Scout knife and sliced my hand open (fortunately, no permanent damage, though it did require an ER trip and stitches). My parents were not big on spanking, but he definitely got spanked for that.

  19. 19
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I think you’re getting cheated, dude, because I have to clean up my share of cat puke. G gets stuck with a bit more of it because he gets up before I do and Keaton likes to have a cozy early morning after-breakfast puke, but I’ve definitely cleaned up plenty of it.

  20. 20
    Fuzzy says:

    Keep it up kid and play outside in the dirt, run thru mud puddles and kiss the dog. All these things will help you protect yourself against all the crap out in the world.

  21. 21
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Mnemosyne: @JaneE: Looks like I’ll have to re-evaluate this relationship, as my wife will not deal with it under any circumstances.

  22. 22
  23. 23
    scav says:

    @Jay C: Plus, by spawning multiples, you pretty much boot-strapped your team of baby-sitters and au pairs. Had to deal with the odd psycho fratricidal ones, but again multiples and backups helped.

  24. 24
    cckids says:

    Too adorable. I weigh in on the side of letting her/them have some exploration areas – see this.

    Both of my younger kids were climbers, big time. My daughter, in particular. She was born 5 weeks early, at 5 lbs, so was still tiny at 9 months, though crawling & climbing like crazy. I’ll never forget coming into the room one day to find her standing on her brother’s lap, both of them laughing like crazy. (He was 13).

    She had crawled to his wheelchair, climbed the big back wheels like a monkey, pulled herself onto his lap, then used his clothes to stand up & steady herself. She weighed in at around 10 pounds then, so it was freaky watching her.

  25. 25
    Paul in KY says:

    @Jay C: Think you have nailed the old child rearing theory.

  26. 26
    geg6 says:

    That is one adorable girl child.

    And I’m with you on this, Tim. Kids need to get their bumps and bruises. As long as they can’t drown in the bathtub/toilet or get into the kitchen cupboard where the ammonia/bleach/bad chemicals are kept, I tend to think kids should learn what to touch/eat through trial and error. I think it’s good for the ego for them to screw up a little bit as long as it’s not life threatening.

  27. 27
    jake the antisoshul soshulist says:

    Tim: “Open the fridge, H.A.L.
    H.A.L.: I’m afraid I can’t do that, Tim.

  28. 28
    PurpleGirl says:

    She is an adorable scamp. You and DMDF should enjoy her.

  29. 29
    Keith G says:

    Oh goodness, what explosive cuteness.

    I needed that after spending the last four hours on phone calls with pharmacies, drug manufacturers, and my medical coverage provider. The ACA market place is a very challenging environment for anyone with a significant chronic issue needing top line drugs to stay in the game. Luckily, I am fairly tenacious and experienced with bureaucracies.

    A break for lunch, then the next round of phone calls.

  30. 30
    gogol's wife says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I do my fair share of cat puke, dismembered mice (in the old days before I kept my cats in), and even a live snake once (although I didn’t realize it was alive until too late).

  31. 31
    Bob says:

    an innocuous acronym name like Handy Automated Living. What could possibly go wrong.

    There’s an old movie that pretty much explains what could go wrong. Just saying.

  32. 32

    @gogol’s wife: Your kitteh sounds like a ferocious hunter killer!

  33. 33
    Roger Moore says:

    If you haven’t already, you should replace your child-level outlets with the tamper-proof kind. They’re much more effective against serious attempts to shove something into them than those protective covers, and they’re easier when you actually need to plug something in. Also, too, GFCI just in case.

  34. 34
    bryan says:

    Your daughter is beautiful! But as the father of 21 month-old twins, looking at all that slate tile has me cringing. Our apartment has a kitchen with ceramic tile that opens into the hard wood of the living room; we spent 90% of our time in that space and have either carpeted or covered in foam tiles as much of it as we reasonably could. We can’t even count the number of head bonks that were safely cushioned by this.

  35. 35
    Betty Cracker says:

    Look at that sweet little angel!

  36. 36
    LAC says:

    Wow, she just gets cuter! And something tells me that she is a fast one who hasn’t met a stranger yet or a table that didn’t have something fun to grab. :-)

  37. 37
    shelley says:

    How did we ever manage to raise kids before all this safety was invented?

    Well, i have a few dings…

  38. 38
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: We had a cat that brought a rabbit into the house once. The rabbit wasn’t dead, unfortunately.

  39. 39
    aimai says:

    Adorable, and so proud of herself! I’ve got no advice. You will do fine whatever you decide.

  40. 40
    Roger Moore says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    We had a cat that brought a rabbit into the house once.

    Live birds are worse.

  41. 41
    Schlemizel says:

    sadly video is blocked here. I will see it when I get home.

    I could be a nice guy and wait until an open thread but this is too beautiful to let sit. Gawker thinks Karl Rove may have brain damage. The comments are a treat including the mention of Jeff Gannon

  42. 42
    JPL says:

    Tim, A friend gave her daughter this book for mother’s day. It sound like your wife might enjoy it.
    Of course, she might toss it in your direction.

    The baby is a real cutie.

  43. 43
    Keith G says:

    @shelley: Those of us who grew up on working farms (in my case complete with a 19th century house which seemed uniquely designed to be child-challenging) leaned that boo-boos and the occasional scar were a normal part of the routine.

  44. 44
    Glocksman says:

    On another subject, does anyone have an opinion on Apple’s purchase of Beats Audio?

    When I went shopping for headphones, Dr. Dre’s name and company didn’t pop up as a developer of audio technology or as a manufacturer of quality gear when I started researching.

    Sennheiser’s did.
    My $50 Sennheiser earbuds sound better than the $100+ Beats buds I auditioned at Best Buy.

    That said, Beats does fill a niche even if I’m not part of it.
    Unfortunately, that niche is fashion statement mediocre gear at premium prices and there’s enough people who fill that niche to make Beats profitable at the moment.

    Apple may charge premium prices (especially for larger capacity iPhones), but they at least build quality hardware.
    Beats doesn’t.

    I’m definitely no A&M expert, but I wonder just how much Apple’s and Beats’ corporate cultures will clash.

    The only reason I can see Apple doing this is because of Beats’ streaming music service and getting Dre and Iovine on board in order to market to the 13-25 hip hop crowd.

    Still, $3 billion+ for a maker of mediocre headphones seems a bit steep.

  45. 45
    Tim F. says:

    @LAC: how did you know about the grabbing? She has a connoisseur’s taste for only the most dangerous stuff. She also loves pulling a tablecloth to see what comes down on her head.

  46. 46
    Paul in KY says:

    @Glocksman: Maybe Apple will make them better, so they can then make them more expensive.

  47. 47
    Lee says:

    For our first I put cabinet and drawer locks around the kitchen. She defeated them way too quick.

    For our second we just moved anything dangerous to the upper cabinets. Yes we both had moments when we walked into the kitchen with stuff all over the floor courtesy of a curious toddler.

    For the stairs, once she was ready, I spent a Saturday morning teaching my youngest how to slide down the stairs on her belly/butt

  48. 48
    Glocksman says:

    @Paul in KY:

    Possible, but if Apple merely wants a company that makes headphones, I’m thinking that Shure, AKG, Grado, or Sennheiser would have been much cheaper than $3 billion and all of the aforementioned companies have established reputations for high dollar and high quality gear.

    Either Tim Cook’s lost his freaking mind, or there’s something I’m not seeing.

  49. 49
    geg6 says:

    @Tim F.:

    She also loves pulling a tablecloth to see what comes down on her head.

    She obviously has a future in magic!

  50. 50
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Glocksman: established reputations for high dollar and high quality gear.

    But not fashionable. That’s key.

    There’s little to no market for audio quality. Cell phones and MP3 music have moved that curve so far down that almost nobody gives a shit anymore.

  51. 51
    JPL says:

    My son broke his collarbone at a mothers day out organization at nine months. We stripped his room of everything except for a mattress. Since baby gates were a no brainer for the son, we removed his door and installed a piece of plywood 3/4’s of the way up with a latch on the outside. Of course, that was after he climbed over the gate went into the kitchen and got up on the counters. That was just the start of the fun times.
    Have fun Tim.

  52. 52
    Ash Can says:



    As an overprotective mom of an only child, I can vouch for having a husband who takes a slightly more casual approach. He keeps me grounded and helps me to remember all the innocuous roughhousing and chance-taking we did when we were young, and how we both survived bumps and bruises just fine. Not all risks are the same, of course, and there are some safety measures that we didn’t have as kids that I insist upon now — e.g., bicycle helmets. Nonetheless, he helps me keep the minor, useful risks in perspective, and persuades me to allow Bottle Rocket to take them at the times I start to go a little overboard with the protectiveness.

  53. 53
    suzanne says:

    Pretty soon, she’ll be able to defeat them, but you won’t. You’ll be asking her to open your childproof caps and shit.

  54. 54
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    At least no one’s given her a drum set yet.

    That is a darn cute kid.

  55. 55
    Eric U. says:

    @Glocksman: I see some of these multi-billion dollar tech deals, and a lot of them don’t make sense to me at all. Granted, Apple has enough money to buy almost any other company in the U.S., but that doesn’t mean they should. They could easily hire away a few really good audio people and make some really good headphones. Or just contract out the purchase. I bet Sennheiser would license an apple by sennheiser product for not all that much money.

  56. 56
    scav says:

    @geg6: If she manages a hypothesis before the pull (fun stuff! Interesting stuff? Noisy messy stuff!!) it could work for experimental science too. (and I want to live in that world where interesting dangly bits get pulled sometimes for the sheer joy of seeing what happens. It’s not as though messes get entirely avoided through over-caution.)

  57. 57
    Schlemizel says:

    We had neighbors who put a bar on the bedroom window so it would only open a couple inches and a locking aluminum screen door on their sons room. He had a habit of getting up in the middle of the night or very early in the AM & crawling out the window or into the house & getting into serious trouble. I heard a commotion one morning (we shared a driveway) about 4:30 & looked out to see the kid, then maybe 3 YO, jamming tomatoes from the garden into the gas tank on dads car! The noise I hear was him dragging a lawn chair over to the car. The guy told me one night he rolled over & saw a strange light, got up to investigate & found the kid had opened the fridge & pulled everything he could reach out and was spreading stuff on the floor and walls.

    It gave me a lot of perspective when we had our own kids.
    EDIT: Thats nearly 40 years ago now, I really should google his name. My guess is he is either as genius inventor or doing 7-10 for something horrific.

  58. 58
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    @Mnemosyne: Good recommendation. When our kids were little, all the pans and canned food was stored in the lower cupboards and hazardous stuff up high. They could make as much a mess as they liked and it distracted them for hours.

  59. 59
    danielx says:

    DMDFII looks pretty proud of herself in this pic, as she should.

    Of course she does.

    In my experience, they should add “temporarily” in parentheses after the “child proof” description on the packaging of all these devices, since a truly determined toddler will eventually find a way to defeat all of them. That’s when you get out the baby ball and chain.

    Now what we want to know is whether she’s managed to get her diaper off in the crib, while said diaper is loaded with one of those Fukushima-grade loads that glows in the dark. That was always good for laughs – “honey, I need some paper towels. In fact, just bring me the whole roll. And a garbage bag…”

  60. 60
    Keith G says:

    @Glocksman: Ars Technica has a good column on this, and the comments are worth a quick scan.

  61. 61
    LAC says:

    @Tim F.: lol! That was what mine did at her age. Good lord, she was a giggly terror at friends houses. She once brought over to me a lovely piece of china that she somehow got to. I everyone had frozen smiles of terror as we gently extracted for her tiny but strong hands. She was so pleased with herself.

  62. 62
    burnspbesq says:


    Beats headphones suck if you care about anything other than gobs of sloppy bass and looking cool. They’re a fashion accessory, not an audio product. However, they are a wildly successful brand, with a demographic that Apple has had some difficulty reaching.

    And Beats has “real estate” that Apple covets in a world that may be migrating toward “wearable computing.”

  63. 63
    Riley's Enabler says:

    Delurking to have overwhelming starbursts over the cuteness. She’s gorgeous!

  64. 64
  65. 65
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Keith G:
    Of the theories advanced in the comments, the one that most appeals to me is the most diabolically simple: Apple doesn’t actually need any Beats tech. They’re buying a potential competitor in music streaming just to shut it down.

  66. 66
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    I once told a friend that it was a mother’s job to take of a child. It was a father’s job to teach a child to take care of itself. His wife still hasn’t forgiven me.

  67. 67
    Visceral says:

    Toddler me always pulled out the plastic shields that plugged into unused electrical outlets because on some level they seemed like they didn’t belong there. I also perceived the foam cover on the metal bathtub faucet as something physically separate – and from my point of view nonfunctional – so it ought to be removed. Same with dust covers on books.

    Engineer, surgeon, or puritanical dictator.

  68. 68
    Citizen_X says:

    You will be stocking the house with a selection of firearms for the kid to play with, like a good ‘Merican, right?


    I want to live in that world where interesting dangly bits get pulled sometimes for the sheer joy of seeing what happens.

    Feh. It’s called “hacking.”

  69. 69
    Roger Moore says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    There’s little to no market for audio quality. Cell phones and MP3 music have moved that curve so far down that almost nobody gives a shit anymore.

    Which is strange, because those are both solvable problems. There’s no reason a cell phone has to have lousy audio; a decent D/A converter and amplifier can’t be that expensive. Similarly, FLAC isn’t that much bigger than typical quality MP3s that somebody who cares about music quality wouldn’t be willing to devote the extra space to get it. It would even give hardware vendors like Apple an excuse to sell more storage capacity in their devices, which appears to be very lucrative.

  70. 70
    Roger Moore says:


    Toddler me always pulled out the plastic shields that plugged into unused electrical outlets because on some level they seemed like they didn’t belong there.

    Which is why parents who care about preventing accidents should get tamper-resistant outlets instead of relying on the outlet covers. That and there’s no separate doohickey to get lost when you plug something in.

  71. 71
    Comrade Mary says:

    She’s gonna turn that box into a Tesla before she’s a year old, right?

  72. 72
    scav says:

    @Citizen_X: Sometimes. But a life measured in coffeespoons, always erring on the side of (falsely) guaranteed safety seems a diminished sad little one.

  73. 73
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Roger Moore: Apple went with AAC in the iTunes store, which is orders of magnitude better than MP3. And there are sites that do cater to the audiophile (HDTracks).

    Better D/A hardware costs money-and starts to add up when you scale up volume and may also be a major battery drain (I.e., there’s a reason why you don’t see SABRE32 chips on cellphones-they suck down 100mw when you want to keep current consumption as low as a possible.)

  74. 74
    Howard Beale IV says:

    And here’s a milestone for you-John Conyers won’t be on the August ballot.

  75. 75
    FlyingToaster says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:I’ve got one, my daughter’s getting too big for it.


    @Tim F.: We only childproofed the under-sink cabinet, and keep all of the caustics and poisons in there. She didn’t figure out that latch until she was 5. Sorry, the mfg site only has the 7-multipack, I bought a 2-pack at HomeDepot.

    Until she was about 4 I had top locks on the closet doors in WarriorGirl’s room and the hallway.

    We had gates that were painful to climb — I don’t see them anymore, but they were a KidCo pressure mount wood-n-metal gate, just vertical wood dowels in a metal frame; she didn’t have the upper arm strength to pull herself over. Unlike climbing out of the crib or using chairs to mount the tables, counters, etc.

    I had her touch the hot oven once at about 10 months; she had no interest in ever dealing with that again. I didn’t care if she pulled pans out of the cabinets and banged them, so we never bothered latching them or the drawers. We put her plates and cups in those cloth-covered boxes on open wire shelves in the dining room, so she spent most of her time in there anyway.

    I do recommend a cheap folding playpen for putting her in while cooking; she can see you, but can’t actually kill herself while you attend to the oven/stove/food prep. Or a Fisher-Price swing; we used ours from about 6-18 months and then handed it off to the next set of parents we know.

    And in a few years you can follow all of us with the violin lessons and soccer team. Heh.

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