Ours is a two gate, one door system for a reason people. We use 2 gates to seal off the stair wells and we close one bathroom door, and then the babies are pretty much free to roam about the main floor of our house. When they were younger, I could simply gate them inside the nursery and they would be content for lengthy periods of time, which in our world is 20 minutes, 30 minutes tops.
The nursery days are over though, and they need space to explore, branch out. Their request for this was reasonable, and so we instilled the 2 gate, 1 door system in order to accommodate their needs. As you can see, they were beginning to feel a bit stifled...
This morning I went down to start some laundry, and while I was pulling the wet load from the washer and starting the drier and sorting out the new load and remembering the fabric softener, I was naively thinking to myself how nice it was to have older babies now who can be left upstairs for a few brief moments unattended....Silly me.
When I 'left' them, they were completely absorbed in one of their new favorite activities, which is to root through the Tupperware drawers in the kitchen and empty them of the various tops and bottoms (and you thought your family had a hard time finding the right lids!) and make a tremendous mess in the kitchen all the while sampling each piece to find the right flavor. Sometimes it's the silverware drawer, so dinner guests beware!
After which they are still hungry and I have even more dirty dishes to ignore.
Now back to the laundry.
So as I am feeling rather proud of their new found independence and starting a permanent press cycle, I begin to notice that it has gotten rather quiet upstairs. And since I had left them gated in quite literally at the top of the stairs, I begin to realize with a sinking dread that it has gotten EXTREMELY quiet upstairs. I ditched the white load and took the stairs 2 at a time.
Oscar was happily involved in some independent water play.....in the toilet. I knew it before I even reached the first floor. I just knew that I had forgotten to close the bathroom door, which is something I am constantly reminding everyone else to do, nagging really, lecturing about how important it is. Sigh.
Once I had him washed up and the bathroom secured, I called around for Nuala, surely she was off playing with toys somewhere safe, within baby territory. Surely they couldn't have BOTH gotten into mischief while I was 'away'. This was my second naive moment of the morning. Or perhaps just wishful thinking.
I very quickly made inventory of her favorite hide-aways, the sun room, underneath the dinning room table, underneath the underneath of the dining room table, and the kitchen corner where we keep the cat food, but she was no where to be found. I began to actually panic a little, which seemed silly since she had to in fact be somewhere, and since we keep the first floor gated off from the basement and the second floor, it's not like she could have gone very far. And that's when I saw it, the gate we use at the bottom of the second floor stair well, and as you have already guessed, it was not installed securely in place in the actual stair well. No, instead it was leaning oh so casually off to the side against a wall.
Standing at the bottom of those very tall, very steep steps, I began to feel even worse than I did when I caught Oscar fishing for toilet paper, which moments earlier wouldn't have seemed possible.
"Nuala"? I called out timidly, half hoping she wouldn't respond, half hoping that she would instead emerge from a first floor bedroom with a grin and a wave.
"Nuala" I called again, this time in a louder voice which echoed off the stair well walls.
She answered back with a grunt and a clomping of hands and knees as she scurried across the upstairs hall way, quite aware that I was hot on the trail and her adventure was about to come to an abrupt end. I ran up the stairs to retrieve her, thankful a million times over that she had been able to reach the top successfully, willing myself not to think about what might have happened had she faltered along the climb. As I turned to carry her back down to "Baby Country" Oscar had already made it half way up the stairs.
Sometimes in life you just have to see the humor. You have to be able to laugh. Otherwise you'd certainly go insane.
Ours is a 2 gate 1 door system for good reasons, now if only I could remember to close the 1 door and use the 2 gates. ALWAYS.