When I was pregnant, everyone wanted to give me advice, solicited or (more often) not. The “advice” was thinly veiled warnings that I had to appreciate my life now (hard to do when you’re incubating another person) and that nothing would ever be the same. Maybe because I have an “easy” child, or maybe because I’ve come up with creative solutions, most of the “advice” has been conquered in one way or another. Here’s some examples:
- You’ll never sleep again. I do sleep. Quite well. That is, when I go to bed before midnight. That’s not because my daughter is keeping me up, but because I want to squeeze in one more game of Hearthstone or PUBG.
- You’ll never eat a hot meal again. This one took some time, but now that we’ve settled into the beginning of toddlerhood, my daughter is quite happy to eat at the same time as me, provided she gets some bites of whatever I’m having. Fine with me!
- Your house will never be clean again. Aside from crumbs that come with snack and lunch time, my house is actually pretty clean. I set up designated spaces (out of reach of little hands) for mail, bills to be paid, shoes, etc. and so far, so good! Oh – and get a dog. Dogs make wonderful vacuums. And the toys all over my living room? I don’t consider that mess. I consider that life and creativity and playtime and happiness.
Now I’m not so naive to think that any of these things can change at the drop of the hat because, well, toddlers. They want what they want or they will try to hurl their little bodies down the highest flight of steps until they get it. And then laugh at you as you lunge for them or say “no”. But the one thing no one warned me about was Christmas, and by that I mean the Tree.
By no means do I have an elaborate, expensive collection of ornaments, but I do have some quite sentimental ones and a plethora of breakable ones. My cats were never Christmas Tree climbers, just ornament stealers and branch chewers, and Abby could care less about it. Last year, Alexandra wasn’t quite crawling so her grubby little hands couldn’t do much damage. This year? TOTALLY DIFFERENT STORY.
I searched for cheap dog fences and kid play yards (we don’t use one at the moment.. she is a free range toddler) but found nothing that was going to quite work without spending a lot for something that would be used for a month. I was going to purchase garden fencing and cut off the stakes that are used to put it in the ground, but realized that I didn’t have time for a failed Pinterest attempt, I just needed to create enough of a barrier that she couldn’t get IN the tree. Solution? Fake presents. With weights in them.
I have a lot of empty cardboard boxes, especially this time of year (because Amazon Prime) so I decided to make my barricade as pretty as possible. I only needed a few boxes, so I used some of the cheaper wrapping paper I already own. What to stuff them with, though? I was going to use my free weights, but that defeats the purpose of owning them (hi, exercise). Instead, I wrapped up things that aren’t going to get used until after the holidays. Most notably, I used cans of Sprite that were leftover from her first birthday party. Other boxes were filled with DVDs and random canned goods (like leftover cranberry sauce). A few boxes later and voila!
I left a lot of ornaments off the tree, but our mini barricade is just enough deterrence from grabby little hands (and Luna is quite happy she can still doze on the tree skirt). I can’t wait to wrap our real presents tonight and place them behind the barricade!