Barbarian at the Gate


"You're baking me a cake with a file hidden in it, right?"

Watching the Bean think her way through problems has been pretty interesting. Her main problem at the moment is the Baby Gate that keeps her out of the kitchen. It stops her from chasing the cats. It makes it hard for her to see what I’m doing when I’m cooking, or what Trev’s up to when he cooks or makes tea in there.

At first, she’d pull herself up to standing and rattle the bars. Lately, she has been closely observing us as we open and close the gate. Now she pulls herself up to standing and fiddles with the latch. She lacks the motor skills and finger strength to get anywhere with opening it– for now.

It’s the same with the stairway. She likes crawling into the stairwell and looking up at us as we go up and down. She peers at our feet, takes in our hands on the banisters, unravels the whole mystery of this walking business. She puts a hand on the carpeted step– and gets snatched up and carried back into the living room.

Other times, she’ll peek into the mail slot in the front door, or try to mess with the lower deadbolt. But it’s the gate that generates the most attention. Also the most resentment. This is a theme of human development: denying access to something (the kitchen, candy, fancy shoes, an attractive person) only makes them want it more.


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