As the mother of an only child, I tend to be a bit on the over-protective side. No peanut butter until he turned two, no playing near the street, no leaning to look in the pond unless Mama has a grip on his waistband. Running with scissors and stage-diving off the couch are right out.
Since the kitchen is full of dangerous and fascinating things, we keep a baby gate latched across the doorway. It actually used to work, but that was before Junior discovered that one good yank opened the path to the fridge. It is not uncommon to be awakened at seven in the morning by the sound of little feet headed for the cheese supply. Ever the thoughtful boy, he will come in and announce his activities.
"Oh! Iss seven twenny-two! I ea-tin cheese!"
The gate usually works well enough, as long as there are no temptations within view. Crackers, candy, and prunes must all be stored in cabinets. Unfortunately, the double whammy of a selectively deaf spouse and a determined little boy recently made a joke of the gate. After making the cake to be served at our weekly jam session, I set the cake on a rack to finish cooling.
"Okay, Babe! The cake is ready, and the coffeepot is set up. Make sure to leave the gate up so Junior doesn't get into the kitchen!"
Take careful note of that last sentence. You will note that I specifically asked for the gate to stay up, and for a stated reason. Feeling confident that all bases were covered, I headed off to work. Thanks to a low backlog, I returned home by just a little after eight that evening.
"Hi, Honey! I'm ho-o-o-ly CRAP WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CAKE?!?!"
My lovely Bundt cake was sitting on a plate on the washing machine in the mudroom. Once an elegant creation full of fruit and sugar, it now looked as though it had been attacked by starving rats. It took exactly three seconds to decipher the damage. I stuck the plate under Himself's nose and scowled.
"Well, the thing is... um... See, there was this... We were..."
After much hemming and hawing, a confession. He'd taken the gate down (!!!) and turned his back for "just a second". The rest was messy history. When the cake was served, I gave Himself a slice with a handprint on it.