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Posted by on Apr. 3, 2013 at 12:00 AM
  • 36 Replies
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Rather than write my first post on baby gear starting with my favorite baby product, or the one I've found most useful, or even the must-have item I recommend every parent own before he or she even owns a baby, I'm going to begin instead by singing the praises of something that I never thought I'd need--something I actually didn't ever want--and something that is currently rocking my world. Maybe you have one and love it too. Or maybe you think they're awful and ugly and cruel.

What am I talking about? The baby play yard--those big plastic gates that are indeed hideous to look at but glorious in their ability to keep my eight-month-old from injuring himself (or the furniture) in the brief moments I dare leave him alone in a room so I can indulge in something so utterly selfish as throw a load of laundry in the machine or use the bathroom. I am obviously a terrible mother.

With my first son, we never needed gates and pens. I think he crawled toward the electronics with a hungry look in his eyes exactly once, at which point I told him "No no noooo" in a sing-songy voice and his response seemed to signal that he understood and accepted this perfectly reasonable limit. My second son, though? Total maniac. I look away for two seconds and he's got his fingers in the DVD player, his teeth on the laptop cord, and his picture in the paper under the word WANTED.

I hemmed and hawed over getting a gated play yard, and I won't even pretend my hesitation had anything to do with the possibility of crushing his freedom or killing his little baby spirit. I mostly didn't want one because it was big and ugly and plastic and expensive. And it is still all of those things, but oooooooh, I love it so.  

I spent the first few days telling myself I wasn't using it to keep the baby IN, I was using it to keep him OUT--out of the electronics, out of the litter box, out of my four-year-old's vibrant galleria of choking hazards--but a few weeks later I'm shamelessly exploiting its closed-in hexagonal configuration and enjoying my newfound ability to answer the phone in the other room without worrying I'll return to find the baby summiting the bookshelf with a miniature American flag clamped between his four tiny teeth.

Where do you stand on gated play yards? Do you have one? Do you love it? Do you worry people think you're treating your baby like a farm animal? Do you even care what those people say?

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by on Apr. 3, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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by Bronze Member on Apr. 3, 2013 at 9:54 PM

 Just to answer the last question. No.

I do want one though to separate the living room from the dining room. We've always kept babies out of the kitchen but got lax with each... but them having older children just adds to the issue! Legos will be out of the living room before Sam is crawling :) And to add to the chaos, we are getting a puppy this summer! So a huge gate sounds like a lifesaver!

by on Apr. 3, 2013 at 9:57 PM

I used them when my kids were younger.I didnt care what people thought.I was doing it to protect my child

by on Apr. 3, 2013 at 9:58 PM

I don't like the enclosed play yards, but we have baby gates. Three of them. Oh sweet, peaceful bliss. How I love them! 

by Darbie - Head Admin on Apr. 3, 2013 at 9:58 PM
Never really used one but a handful of times and it was just a hassle in out apartment.
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by on Apr. 3, 2013 at 11:55 PM

We never had the playards, but we did have gates to keep our dd out of the hallway and kitchen.

by Member on Apr. 3, 2013 at 11:59 PM
We did have to use an antique play pen until we installed the baby gate on the stairs.
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by Brandy - Group Owner on Apr. 4, 2013 at 12:44 AM

We used baby gates to keep dd in our living room durring the day and I just made sure that room was baby safe.  We owned a playpen but never used it.

by on Apr. 4, 2013 at 8:11 AM
Baby gates are for some parents & aren't for other parents. It's understandable.
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by on Apr. 4, 2013 at 8:29 AM

No I didn't use a gate like that just to block the kitchen pretty much.  If I needed to I stuck him in the playpen or crib to go to the bathroom 

by on Apr. 4, 2013 at 8:30 AM

We did have a gate in front of our stairs too

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