Please read this and see if you think I am being a "bad" mother? I didn't think I was, but I'm now doubting myself, so could do with feedback - please be gentle!
Background: DS is 10mo and is crawling, cruising and learning to stand unaided (for about 3 seconds before he realised and sits down!) Dad & stepmum are visiting, Dad is out at the shops. Situation: DS is crawling and playing in the living room. I am trying to prepare dinner in the kitchen - not cooking, just dicing onions, carrots etc. and measuring ingredients. I have shut all the hall doors so that he can't go anywhere, but he can (if he wants) crawl out the gate and crawl up and down the hall. Stepmum was upstairs when I went into the kitchen. DS crawls into kitchen beside me and is playing with a cupboard door (tin cupboard so I'm not worried about him getting in there - cupboards with dangerous stuff in are secured). I don't see this as an issue as he pulls out the tins and plays with them, he's happy, I can watch him while I work and dinner gets prepared. Stepmum comes down the stairs and does a whole "horrified" spiel at me about it being dangerous for my DS in the kitchen. Remember, I wasn't cooking, just preparing. If I need to cook, he's either gated out of the room, or strapped in his high chair foe safety. Apparently, he could trap his fingers or hit himself with a tin . I don't say anything much at this point, just nod non-commitally and (as I'm finished) take DS back to living room.
Later, DS is hauling himself up on a side table and apparently I am "irresponsible" as I haven't taken every sharp corner out of the room - even though this table has rounded edges and he can't get to the other tables yet. I start to fume, and we go out. And I'm still fuming.
So, am I a "bad" mother in that I allow my DS to play with cupboards and thus take a small (supervised) amount of risk? And if he bashes his head with a tin, he learns not to do it again! Please tell me - gently!
Well yeah, mistakes isn't really the word, but I just don't want him wrapped in cotton wool IYSWIM. And he has learnt to shut doors nicely (with the aid of a tea towel folded over the door) so he is learning
As long as you're watching him I think it's fine. A tin landing on his foot would hurt though as I know because my 16mo dropped one on hers, and I don't think that he would learn from it at that age. Maybe keep heavy tins further back on the shelf so he can't reach them?
It sounds like you are doing a fine job to me, Fuzzled. It sounds pretty much exactly the same way I did things with my three dses, and all three survived their toddlerhoods unscathed. Of course they have injured themselves plenty of times since, doing stunts on their bikes (mainly ds1), playing football, or just generally titting around, so your stepmum would probably dismiss my opinion as utterly worthless, as I am clearly a worse mum than you!
Should add that I agree in principle though, if you babyproof everything, children don't grow up to learn that there are some things they're not allowed to play with, etc. Keep him away from anything that could seriously hurt him, supervise him where necessary with everything else.