Baby proofing a house is a bit of a misnomer. It implies that it is the house that needs protecting, or at least that it can be protected. There are two problems with that idea. First it is the baby that needs protecting more than the house and second, your house is doomed no matter what you do.
Before our friends starting having children of their own it was difficult to explain why visiting them was so difficult. Sure there was the burden of diapers, naps, feedings, snacks and car rides to contend with. But more than that it was a house full of deadly weapons left lying about. And the things that would not necessarily hurt a baby a baby could certainly hurt, like laptops. Otherwise candles, figurines, remote controls, computer cables, nunchucks, you name it were not only left in plain sight but at low levels breaking rule one of baby proofing a home: move it up.
The irony is that making a home safe for baby can be as simple as moving things up. There still remains cabinet contents, electrical outlets and wires to deal with but mostly it involves moving things up. Once baby can pull himself to standing then things must be moved up again. This works really well up until they can climb onto the counters and open the cabinets like my three-year old can now do. But at least by then they can understand, “No” and the consequences for ignoring it.
As far as protecting your home goes there is little you can do short of living with prison-like esthetics. The longer I live with small children the more appealing cinder block walls and stainless steel toilets become. Sheetrock and carpet however, were invented without regard for children at all. It is amazing how easily these things get ruined. Banister? Forget about them. They’ll get ripped right out of the wall/floor soon enough. Windows? Broken sooner than later. Doors? Slammed of their hinges. Drawers? They’re supposed to come all the way out and never back in right?
Even the yard is not immune. Grass? Nope, that gets yanked up by the bunch full? Trees? Debarked, delimbed, delive, wait those aren’t words. They kill them. Kids can actually kill trees four hundred times bigger than themselves. Flowers? Forget it. Even dirt gets dug in to such a degree that you can’t even play safely in it for all of its pock marks. To compare kids to locusts gives locusts far too much credit. To compare them to a wrecking ball assumes they only smash. On, no. They disassemble too. Your house is doomed. Just face it.
But it is a small price to pay, I admit. Sure I would love to have gleaming floors and shiny bathroom fixtures. Sure I would love to have one thing, just one thing not ripped out of the wall leaving gaping holes in the sheetrock. Sure I would love fluffy, clean carpet I’m not afraid to sit on. Sure I would love cabinets that close and drawers that move. But I wouldn’t trade any of my kids for all of it. Besides, one day they will grow up into responsible adults and I can have my house back. At least until they start bringing the grandkids over.