An ode to tiny things, a haiku:
Tiny things are here
In the baby’s mouth they go
Who didn’t pick up?
When we had our first child, our house was baby proofed to the nines. Outlet covers, breakables on the high shelves, furniture attached to the wall, only toys approved for children ages 0-12 months … everything you could think of.
Except toilet locks.
This time around, we have a 4 – almost – 5 – year- old, and The Tiny Things in our house are plentiful.
Legos, rocks and pebbles, acorn caps, marbles…and did I mention the Legos? An avid attendee of postnatal yoga, this question came up in one of our classes. Our instructor, a mother of three herself, shared a story of her third son choking on a dime, and then some wisdom as to how to keep The Tiny Things at bay as much as we could. “We have a Tiny Things Box.” She said. “It is upstairs in the boys’ room where the toddler can’t get to it.”
A great idea! A box for The Tiny Things!
A box for these tiny toys, rocks, crumpled bits of paper, and various weird itty-bitty party favors littering every inch of the house, all in one place.
And the Legos. Please have mercy with the Legos.
Now our first was not a child who often put things in his mouth. We lucked out in that we never had to break him of a pacifier, and he self-weened at 16 months. Our second, not so much. At 16 months what he touches goes right in. Although he is a champ at spitting it back into our hands when prompted (mostly), he has eaten his fair share of Floor-ios (floor cheerios) and dry dog food (don’t judge me!). I often spend time during the day picking things up and judging whether they are Tiny Thing worthy by placing my thumb and forefinger together to make a circle. If it fits through, away it goes.
The Tiny Things need their own place.
We have tried to relegate these items to the basement as best as we can. A borderline hoarder at age 4, I have told my child more than once that he needs to leave some rocks and pebbles OUTSIDE for the rest of the world to admire.
And I know I’ve already mentioned them, but the Legos are plentiful. Having been gifted legos from others as hand me downs, as well as purchased large bins at garage sales, we try to tame them as much as we can. Because let’s face it, Legos are pretty much one of the coolest toys around, and anything that can keep my child’s focus and attention for that long all while fostering imagination, motor planning, creativity, and social skills has a place in my house.
Just not in the baby’s mouth.
So we try, as much as we can, to enjoy our son’s creations upstairs before putting them back DOWN stairs.
We try, as much as we can, to place items in a basket in his room on a high shelf, reminding him not to leave this basket on the floor when the baby is around.
We try, as much as we can, to keep an eye on the baby and know when he has something stashed away in his mouth for later.