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If you ignore the whole “pen” thing, it’s entirely humane.

When Aura was a baby and I’d complain about having to keep a constant eye on her, my mother would broach the Subject of Playpens.

“When you were a baby, I just put you in your playpen. You were happy there!” she’d reminisce, as I rolled my eyes at the folly of former generations.

“MOM. People don’t use playpens these days,” I’d admonish. “I don’t see anything wrong with letting Aura roam, as long as I’m keeping an eye on her.”

I imagine that my mother is having a great big guffaw at my expense right now (out of my hearing, kindly), as this sucker has been installed in our kitchen since last week.

Pack 'n Play

See, the thing is (and this thing has become more and more obvious in recent months), Aura was what is universally and often enviously termed “an easy baby.” Sure, she rolled and crawled (not until 10.5 months, mind you), but she was much more busy telling us that she was thinking about pulling a bunch of books from the unanchored bookcase or going up the stairs than, you know, actually going up the stairs.

little girl reading

Not the case with this one.

upside-down baby

I think we may have filled our quota of early-talking, late-moving cerebral children long before Jax arrived on the scene. This is not to say that Jax is not a super-smartie, but I don’t know that I’ll be worried about where his teachers put War and Peace in the classroom, if you catch my drift. Jax is a roller, an army crawler, a whirlwind of non-stop-moving legs that must pull candles off the TV stand and gnaw on (mercifully not-plugged-in) printer cables. If I’m in the kitchen attempting to prepare dinner (after believing I have removed or blocked off all possible safety hazards) and yell to Aura in the living room, “Is Jaxie okay? What’s he doing?” more often than not Aura will yell back, “Oh, he’s fine. He hit his head rolling into the coffee table, but now he’s just gnawing on the table leg.”

That head. That poor, bald-spotted, little eight-month-old head. If it isn’t getting stuck under our bed, it’s being whacked by a toy lifted up by its owner, for the sole purpose of head-smacking. It’s like he revels in possibly concussing himself. I’m pretty sure Pop Warner football is a foregone conclusion, by way of the missed Mensa meetings.

In the interest of not having to get one of those little baby helmets (knowing that eventually I’m going to be one of Those Moms Who Has Her Kid on a Not-Fooling-Anyone “Stuffed Animal Backpack” Leash), I’ve folded. I’ve surrendered. I’ve gone playpen.

I figure I get three weeks before he determines the best way to gnaw his way out of there. Or maybe just use his head as a battering ram. Nice try, Graco. Your mesh sides? They’re goners.

baby in playpen

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