Thursday, July 29, 2010

NAFTA - Newborn Animal Free Toy Agreement

I recently had some at-home work, and will soon write about my experiences trying to get work done with two tots who are fascinated by my laptop.  Today, however, I would like to discuss the Newborn-Animal Free Toy Agreement.

Help!  Our Superyard has finally expanded to encompass the entire living room.  No longer are my little ones content to stay in a playpen-like area, no matter how large, for any length of time.  The living room in its entirety is now the baby play area. 

We have the entertainment center blocked off, the fireplace cushioned, the outlets safety-fied.  As long as Dad and I are careful to not leave things on the coffee table, the living room is a safe place where everyone can happily play, as long as Mom doesn't have the audacity to go to another room for a minute.

The only problem is this is the dog's play area as well.  I have not been able to find a way to convince either the dog or the boys that some of the colorful toys on the ground belong to one, while the other colorful toys belong to the other.  The kids and the dog are, naturally, more than happy to share their things. 

Besides the gross-out factor, however, there are other issues with this.  First off, there is always a little concern that the dog will not take kindly to the boys matter-of-factly taking a toy out of his mouth.  So far this hasn't been a problem, but it is always a worry.  Secondly, the dog toys often have buttons and pieces that can come off and will not be safe for babies.  Thirdly, the baby toys do not hold up to dog chewing, meaning our lovely set wood blocks that we searched for no less than 45 minutes at our local Target to find is now short about five blocks. 

The biggest concern, however, is that as the dog destroys both his toys and the guys' toys, he leaves behind shrapnel.  I constantly scour the floor for splinters, bits of stuffed animal stuffing, shards of chewed plastic, resin eyeballs just the right size for swallowing, etc. 

Right now I separate the play area by timing.  When the boys are in play mode, the dog is barricaded out of the living room.  When the boys wind down to cuddle/nap or are eating, he has free reign.  I still have to comb the carpet, however, each time I put the guys down to play.  Otherwise, I find them happily squeaking on an AKC toy duck or investigating a piece of toy innards.


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