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!

Monday, August 11, 2014

No More Baby Gates!

Yes, I know that my latest round of "catching up" has left me even farther behind than when I started, but we just hit (what we all consider to be) a major milestone so I wanted to quickly post it here before it, too, joined the "gotta write about this someday" list.

Anyone who reads this blog will know that baby gates have been something of a fixture in AJ's house, and something of a thorn in my side, for the past several years. (I've posted about them here and here and here and here and here, not including other mentions.)

Well... THEY'RE ALL GONE NOW!  HOORAY!  A few weeks back, AJ mentioned that the last remaining gate, the one at the top of the stairs, closest to the bedrooms, was becoming more of a safety issue than a protective device.  Miri had been opening it on her own for months, and normally went zooming up & down the stairs on her own several times a day... while the larger members of the family were constantly tripping over / getting caught on / being poked by / or otherwise having all kinds of problems getting past the darn thing.

So... After a quick family outing for a portrait & dinner last night, we all stopped by AJ's house so I could help her back up all the photos from her iPhone onto her laptop. As we were waiting for the two devices to finish negotiating the future of the 400-plus images & videos, I remembered the conversation and asked if maybe I should take down the gate while we were waiting.  A quick hunt for a screwdriver later (and some negotiations with the Pipsqueak, who was torn between helping me and watching the electronically-rented copy of "Brave"), the work began.

Unlike all the other gates, where Miri held something for me, or helped turn one or two screws, she actually did a lot of the work. Some things required more hand strength than she could muster, or were simply too unsafe for a 5-year-old to handle, but my niece actually did at least 50% of the work to remove the gate. We shared a good laugh over there being even more holes in Mommy's walls, and both AJ & I were surprised at how much effort it took to dislodge the rubber pads of the "removable" brackets supporting the bannister, but after about 15 minutes the last of the baby gates was down in the basement, leaning on its predecessors with all its little parts packed in a ziplock baggie.

Miri was happily burbling about being a big girl who didn't need baby gates any more, but AJ's expression spoke volumes... her little baby girl, even at the tender age of five, really is growing up.

And as for me? It's bittersweet, knowing why the gates were put up in the first place and watching the Pipsqueak become less of a pipsqueak at an accelerating rate -- but as much as I'm going to miss the experiences & reasons surrounding the installation of the baby gates in my sister's house...

...I ain't gonna miss the darn things at all. The last baby gate is gone -- HOORAY!

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