Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Playpen is a Playard is a No Go

Don't box me in.

"We always had our babies in the playpen. That's just the way it was," said my Mom.

My son loudly rejects confinement of all types. My son bangs on the front door to go outside. My son does not prefer bulky jackets, rear-facing seats, long diaper changes, etc. He hated his playpen, a hand-me-down hot pink, teal and purple Graco Pack n Play. He could go a few minutes or less. My husband and I called it the wack n play.

Playpens are now called 'playards', which is 1.) not a word. The autocorrect function in Blogger repeatedly changes placard to placard to placard. See what I mean? And, 2.) the term placard, playard, d*mn it, is inaccurate. A yard is a yard, and a pen is a pen.

On a recent trip to my parents' house, we set up the pen in my old bedroom. As usual, my son was teething and was difficult to put to sleep. I finally settled him and while stooping over the pen, he slipped. I had him by a leg and the back of his neck. He woke up. As I soothed him back to sleep, my husband packed up the pen and laid blankets on the floor. My son slept well.

The following day, we stopped along the road to collect firewood left by the power line company. My husband threatened to leave the pen beside the road. My Polish ancestry of stuff savers loomed. I threw the pen back in the car. "What if we need it?" I thought. I could feel my husband's disapproval.

My mother has also recounted times when my brother became mobile. "You know, the house would suddenly be silent, and he'd be upstairs! He loved climbing the steps."

"But he was always in the playpen, Mom?" She didn't answer. So I asked again.

"Well, yes. That's just the way it was."

I talked about playpens with my aunt. She seemed to agree with my mother, but didn't elaborate. I was probably taking a lot of air time talking about my own child...

Really? Did babies of thirty years ago tolerate playpens? Allegedly, I was ok in the pen. "You would play and play," said my mother.

Our whole care provider once quipped to me, "Now baby is one third you, one third Jared, and one third baby." So whose playpen genes did my son inherit?

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