Okay, trusty Planetarians, are any of you smiling already? Does the mere mention of *Quicksilver Sam* ring any bells? I can see some of you nodding over there. See here, here and here to refresh your memories. Ah, my darling, rambunctious, study-in-perpetual-motion 18 month old little bundle of energy struck again the other day. It all happened in 30 seconds. The older pixies climbed onto a chair, undid the deadlocked front door, let themselves out and pulled it shut. Or so they thought. Behind them, their eagle-eyed brother saw the door swing *ever so slightly* ajar and grabbed his opportunity. I was sorting out washing inside the house and then heard Joshua yell, “Sam’s crawling in the middle of the road!” Horrified, I raced out the door, clambered over the sunlounge-turned-barricade at the letterbox and tore up the street, scooping my (now angry-at-having-his-escape-plan-spoiled) crying son into my arms. This time, thank our lucky stars, there was no car involved. Can you hear my heart pounding still?
Ah, Houdini eat your heart out, thy name is now Sam.
Now enter Barry the Brilliant, a dear family friend, a builder who’s ‘retired’ but is now busier than ever. Mr PB’s parents visited him the other day and related the tale of the latest Great Escape by His Highness. The result? Barry offered to help us. He did a reconnaissance mission, at which time Sammy showed us something *else* he’d worked out by observing his siblings. How to squeeze between the verandah balustrades. Those very balustrades separating him from the road. And the cars. Great. Now another hazard to deal with!
For the past week, we have erected temporary obstacles which he has mostly managed to evade. Somehow. Seriously. I wonder whether he will become an engineer or a great problem-solver in later life.
You’re familiar with the sunlounge-turned-on-its-side barricade, of course (erected while we’ve been waiting for our landlord to grant us permission to do something more permanent). Notice the missing slats – it’s falling to pieces. Not the *sturdiest* barrier to Quicksilver, shall we say.
We’ve also had to block off the exit routes on either side of the car. So thus.
And thus. Note my rickety, 40 year old playpen *attempting* to play a role (and poorly at that). Often backed up by its supporters, the rubbish bins.
Now the practical Planetarians among you, especially the mums, I suspect, might just see what a *huge inconvenience* this arrangement proved. I had to remember to move the barricades so I could park the car at *just* the right angle without hitting them. Then I had to unload the pixies from the car and navigate our way around the treacherous obstacle course. Oh, and often race in to see the start of ‘Playschool’ – a task so important, not a second could be lost in running down, Sam on my hip and bags aplenty slung over my shoulders, and flinging open the front door.
Today Mr PB took the day off. The pixies were dropped off at daycare and my parents’ house. It was time for serious action on Planet Baby. Barry turned up with two lengths of fencing which almost completely matched the verandah’s balustrading. Bonus. They’d just been “lying around, taking up space so I’m pleased to get rid of them”. Gratis. A man of gold. And then Barry, Mr PB and Mr PB’s dad got cracking. Here are their superstar results.
Forget that rickety sunlounge, propped up precariously. In its place, a bolted-in fence. Here’s a close-up. Notice the chicken wire barricade fencing off the paving blocks which Master Quicksilver has been seen to climb. That should fix him!
Ah, such beauty. Almost enough to make me weep.
Turning around the corner to that precise spot where Quicksilver was in the top photo.
Chicken wire. For the entire length. Not pretty, not aesthetically pleasing, I know, but effective. And that is my bottom line.
Strolling back along the verandah, we approach the other escape route so proudly patronised by Master Quicksilver. And what greets our eyes?
A gate. A glorious gate. With the left hand-side fenced off to stymie my wriggler. Chained close enough to the fence on the right-hand side that Quicksilver can’t squeeze in between.
Let’s walk up the steps and sidestep to the right. What greets our eyes, dear Planetarians?
A fence. A sturdy fence. With room enough to park the car behind it so it’s still off the road. And leaving enough room to play backyard cricket. All ably supported by metal star pickets at both ends. No fussy concrete footings. We can just take it all with us when we vacate the property.
Now the public liability lawyer in me had to get involved, of course. Hence our rudimentary but effective caps on the star pickets.
Yes, old tennis balls slit and jammed tightly on top. No public liability claims forthcoming from neighbourhood children playing backyard cricket, thankyou very much!
So, today I thank Barry for his inventiveness, generosity, hard work, sagacity*and sheer brilliance in simply solving Planet Baby’s biggest problem – how to keep Quicksilver Sam off the road! Both Joshua and India have demonstrated to us, several times, their ability to use the chain properly. That’s the only possible weakness in our fortress that we can possibly foresee. At this stage. Just ask me tomorrow night!
* Playing along with sweet Felicity's Word of the Week.