In praise of The Kiddie CageMay 8, 2016
We have two dogs. They were in our lives long before the kiddie came along, and we were aware that while there might need to be a few changes, they certainly shouldn’t feel like they were being punished just because we decided to expand the family.
Luckily, Phoebe isn’t a very light sleeper when it comes to the hounds (I can only assume that she heard them barking when in utero, and came into this world totally nonplussed by their tendency to go absolutely mental anytime someone comes to the gate).
Noise aside, however, there were some potential issues, namely:
1) Dogs chewing baby toys
2) Baby chewing dog toys
3) Baby shoving fingers up dogs’ noses/bums
4) Dogs knocking baby over in excitement
5) Baby drinking from the dogs’ water bowl (she’s more interested in splashing in it, but drinking is the next stage, as if she was truly raised by spaniels)
With this in mind, during the day Phoebe slept in what we lovingly called The Kiddie Cage, from an early age – an elevated wooden playpen with a mattress (seriously popular in Europe, but more rare than unicorn poo here in Dubai – you can buy them new from JustKidding (here), but I found one for sale by a French family on Dubizzle. It was a game changer, and our old girl Lizzie took to sleeping close by.
Soon enough, of course, our tiny baby grew, and lying her down diagonally wasn’t cutting it anymore. We needed a bigger cage.
Here’s the problem: we have one living area eg no playroom. And while I know plastic will one day take over the whole house, for as long as possible, we’d like to keep it contained, and preserve some part of the home for grown ups.
One weekend my husband took one for the team and went to Dragon Mart (the poor, poor soul), returning with enough plastic to build our own branch of Cheeky Monkeys and still have spare. I turned my nose up at it, resisting the primary hues, protesting that I was sure we could have some wooden room dividers made – neglecting to mention that it would cost the same as a month’s rent.
Off he went, laying down foam flooring from ACE, and fencing it off as he went, creating a 3m x 2m area. The wooden cage came out, a teepee from Girl With A Balloon went in and there was plenty of room for Phoebe to take her first steps.
Over the long weekend we decided we needed more room, and added another 1m x 3m stretch, buying some mini chairs and table from IKEA. It’s hideous, but it does the job.
I never expected my home to be so dominated by plastic crap, wooden blocks and tiny furniture, but so far The Kiddie Cage has proved unbelievably useful. And those foam tiles are great when you’ve got a hangover, I mean, want to do yoga.
Is there anything in your home that you never thought you’d come to love?