I pulled the laundry basket out of the children's closet and started going through pockets, removing things that shouldn't go in the wash: a half-eaten granola bar, a chewed up piece of gum spat into a wrapper, a bowtie, a kleenex, a bouncy ball...
I suppose I'm lucky there were no living creatures in those pockets.
Alexander followed me into the room. He climbed up the foot of the bottom bunk and flipped over the rail onto the mattress, one of his favourite things to do. And then he noticed that there was no chair stuck in the staircase leading to the top bunk. Grandma thought that stairs would be safer than a ladder, which I suppose might be true for the child on the upper bunk. For the baby of the family, however, the stairs have been somewhat of a nuisance.
|Huh. Stairs not pictured. They're just to the left of the frame|
That's not true. For the baby of the family the stairs have been a boon. Every baby has loved climbing those stairs, an easy way to the forbidden danger of the top bunk.
Those stairs have been somewhat of a nuisance for the parents of those adrenaline-seeking babies.
We learned long ago that if we pulled out one of the drawers of the stairs and stuck a little chair in it that it would hinder access to the top bunk. So usually the second drawer is pulled out and a chair is plopped inside and then no one uses the stairs because they're unmanageable and instead Benjamin hoists himself into the top bunk using the bed frame as a ladder. So we may as well have gone with a ladder.
Today, however, there was no chair in the stairs, which Alexander noticed and quickly took advantage of.
"Oh, dear," I said when I saw him up on the top bunk. "How did you get up there? Is there no chair in the stair?"
"Bah!" Alexander said.
"You're up so high," I said. "You've got to be careful up there."
"Bah!" Alexander said, leaning over the railing.
"No, no, baby," I said, fishing out a couple of rocks and a withered dandelion from Benjamin's well-stocked pockets. "You need to sit down and crawl. Be so careful."
I suppose I could have retrieved him immediately. But I'm kind of digging this challenging parenting thing, which makes sense because I also embrace free range parenting a bit (which is odd because I practice quite a bit of attachment parenting with my babies (but am also very much a you-do-you kind of parenting advocate)).
Anyway, from my perch on the floor by the laundry basket I saw the top bunk as a healthy challenge for Alexander. Alexander is a climber; I can't keep him grounded. So I figure the best way for him to learn how to be safe when he climbs is by continuing to climb and learning how to respect gravity.
"Alexander," I reminded him. "No walking on the bed. You need to crawl."
He dropped onto all fours and crawled around a bit. Then he went right to the side of the rail, rested his belly on it and...
...went over the edge.
I sprang across the room (just from the laundry basket to the farther side of the bunkbed, but still) and managed to scoop up Alexander inches before he made his crash landing. I cuddled him for a few minutes and reminded him about proper top-bunk behaviour while he squirmed his way out of my arms and determinedly made his way back over to the stairs.
"I don't think so," I laughed as I pulled out the drawer and stuck the chair inside.
Alexander huffed and yanked on the drawer before stomping away to make mischief elsewhere. I returned, with shaking hands, to sorting the laundry.
Hopefully this experience helped Alexander learn that he needs to exercise some caution on the top bunk. He seemed pretty scared when I first caught him (but also annoyed, though I don't know why since I'm pretty sure I saved him from breaking a something-or-other) but has since tried climbing over the back of the couch a handful of times...