My niece joined the family on July 12th, 2010. This special young lady's mother is my younger sister, which in classic Chinese culture makes me her Jiu Jiu (舅舅) -- thus the title of this blog. Here I intend to semi-regularly post reflections, thoughts, stories, and assorted whathaveyous pertaining to our trip to China, adoption in general, and (mostly) watching my niece grow up. Since the web is a very public place, I will attempt to maintain my family's privacy while telling the story... but I invite you to follow the blog and come along for the adventure!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Yep, It's (Almost) Another Safety Gate...!

This past weekend included more than looking at photos and wondering about what's stored in the Pipsqueak's tiny little head... Among other things, there was The Changing of the Bed Safeguards.

Ever since coming home, the Pipsqueak's been unwilling to sleep on her own. Oh, sure, she napped in her crib, but that was (with extremely rare exceptions) only when AJ put her there after she'd fallen asleep. At night, she sleeps with her Mommy -- it's really the only way either one of them gets any sleep. (Although it's hard to tell how AJ gets any rest, since she's sharing her bed with her daughter, a number of her daughter's stuffed animals, two active cats, and sometimes even a stuffed animal that one of the cats has brought into the bed... lately she's expressed concern that she's being crowded out of her own bed!)

In order to keep the Pipsqueak as safe as possible, AJ's been keeping Miri's side of the bed blocked with a second crib, a solid & heavy folding travel model that was just the right length & height to serve as a decent guardrail. Trouble is, AJ had to practically rearrange the furniture in her room just to get to her closet because the crib also did an excellent job of filling all available floor space on Miri's side of the bed... so she bought a fancy-pants "hideway" side rail system to mount on the bed.

I was semi-drafted (I also offered to help, really I did!) to assemble the thing, and this past weekend everyone's schedules finally meshed so I found myself working with Dad to carry the folding crib down to the basement (where it was harder work to find room for it than it was to move it down two flights of stairs), and then trudging back up to AJ's bedroom to figure out how the safety rail was supposed to be assembled.

Anyone who's read my posts about my adventures putting up baby gates in AJ's house, you can anticipate what's coming next... oy. The "body" of the safety thingie is synthetic fabric (part solid, part a tight mesh) that has to be stretched over a tubular steel frame. This particular frame consists of several different pieces that have to be put together in a specific way, with various odd accoutrements sticking out at specific angles to ensure assorted metal tubes and/or the cloth "wall" are all arranged in a very specific manner. This assembly then has to be attached to a second metal frame -- an equally "easy" assembly -- then essentially flipped around until it is inside-out... into which the entire assembly is supposed to be able to disappear (once mounted between mattress & box spring) when pushed & pulled just so. Once all the pieces are inserted, matched, stretched, pulled, twisted, and clicked into place, it's time to feed a pair of long fabric straps, each with a tubular metal hook at one end, through tiny locking clips. Once all that is done, the entire assembly has to be slid between the mattress and box spring, then the fabric straps have to be threaded across to the other side of the bed, the hooks placed to grip the side of the mattress, and then each of the straps pulled taut through its locking clip until the entire construct is held firmly in place by the weight of the bed itself.

Oh, did I mention that EVERY page of the obtuse instructions began with "Step 1", that the drawings showing how the parts went together were never on the same page as the stage of assembly they corresponded to, and that almost every "Step 1" would begin with something you were supposed to do after doing something else in a different step...?!?


Throughout this ordeal process, the Pipsqueak was with us (Watch your language, Uncle Brian!) -- and she simply would. not. get. off. the. bed. She rolled around, tried to help with the frame, jumped up & down, tried to help with the straps, put her stuffed animals to sleep, danced, hid under the blanket, and generally did a whole bunch of amazingly cute & funny things that made it impossible difficult to actually do what we were trying to do. The most notable moment came when I was struggling to get the last corner of the fabric stretched over the frame and the Pipsqueak stood up in the middle of the bed, happily squealed, "A slide!" and jumped on it.

I honestly don't know why nothing broke, bent, popped, ripped, or punctured... but we managed to get the fershlugginer thing into place and I was able to leave with the knowledge that I have once again triumphed (with some help) over an inanimate object intent on not allowing me to complete my assigned task.  (Yay, me! <grin>)

Just for illustrative purposes, I'm including a couple of photos I took during the process. I know AJ doesn't like having easily identified photos of the Pipsqueak in the blog, but she was just moving so much (or hiding under the blanket) that I feel safe posting these images.

(By the way, that blurring isn't Photoshop; the camera just could not keep up with the Pipsqueak)

When all was said and done, the Pipsqueak was duly appreciative of all the work Mommy and Uncle Brian had done to keep her safe at night... and AJ reminded me that the kid's already fallen off the foot of the bed a couple of times. (AJ's bed is almost as high as the Pipsqueak is tall... just another testament to my niece's near-invulnerability when diving headfirst off beds onto the floor.)  Funny thing is, I did the exact same thing when I was little...

I just hope I don't have to put together another bed rail...!

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