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I Was Not Emotionally Ready For My Husband To Take Down The Baby Gate That We Had Not Used In Months

When our kids were first born, and after we moved into our second home, we fully baby proofed the house. But now these once necessary precautions get in our way.

My husband asked a few weeks ago if he could take down the baby gates in the house. We had three in our house: one at the basement stairs, and then ones at both the bottom and top of the stairs leading to the second floor. My youngest child is very proficient with stairs, even carrying big toys like his metal dump truck up and down the steps with ease.

The baby gates on the stairs for the second floor were like a rolling screen that neatly tucked away when not in use. They were not a bother in any way, except maybe visually. The gate to the basement, where our home office is, was a more traditional metal gate. It was cumbersome to try to open and close the gate every single time that we wanted to go up and down the stairs, especially if we were carrying something.

When my husband originally asked if he could take down the gates, I made up some excuse about how it is nice to still have the option to close the gates for when we have family or friends visiting with small children. I also talked about how it is still nice to be able to control where our kids are able to go with the gates if for whatever reason I wanted to keep them on a certain floor of our two-story house. But honestly, I knew that we had not used the gates to the second floor in months. I had quit using the gate on the top floor specifically because I was concerned that a kid would try to climb the gate and then may somehow fall down the stairs.

The topic of removing the gates had temporarily been dropped, so I assumed that I had bought myself a bit more time with the gates. I came home from work one day to find that my husband had taken down all three of the baby gates. Immediately, my heart sank a little. I was excited about the clean look that removing the gates created, but I was also a bit sad. The removal of the gates highlighted this new stage of development that our family had moved into. The kids are getting older. They need me less. They are becoming more self-sufficient. They can now climb the stairs to get their toys, books, or their special snuggly bedtime items.

When my youngest had weaned himself off of the bottle, I was excited.When my youngest had weaned himself off of the bottle, I was excited. I remember even taking a picture of the empty kitchen cupboard shelf and all of the extra room which is now filled with Camelback toddler cups. This new phase of the kids needing me less… hurt.

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My husband and I are done having kids. We are out of the baby phase, and we are slowly creeping out of the toddler phase. Both of our kids are day time potty trained (nights are a different story). Avery is in a big kid bed, which she stays in all night long. Hunter is almost too long for his crib, yet by some crazy magic, he still has not figured out that he can climb out of his crib.

I look at their pictures and I realize how much they have grown and how much they are changing. Their chubby baby cheeks are gone. They are growing up. They need me less and less, and yet, in some ways, they need me more. I don’t miss the baby phase completely, but I do miss holding my babies. I do miss being their sole source of comfort.

I am dreading the outside influence that comes with school, new friends, and the parents of the friends who I don’t know. I think for me, those baby gates and their removal symbolized this loss of control over my children’s surroundings. I can’t protect them as completely as I would like. They are going to have experiences that I cannot protect them from and that I will not see coming. There will be outside influences invading their sweet little minds, and there is no baby gate large enough to keep them fully protected from this dangerous outside world. So, for now, I just have to teach them kindness and honesty. I have to remind them about the rules and how we treat other people. I have to pray that they make good, healthy, safe choices. And I have to be ready to help pick them up if they fall down the stairs.

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