Baby gates are about the MOST HORRIBLE part of baby-proofing. Every single baby gate is ugly. There's no beauty in the design. There is only more offensive and less offensive. Generally speaking, they are installed for safety, so you can't just put them away when guests are coming over. That would be a lot of work: both uninstalling the gate AND chasing the baby while entertaining.
And then, as if the ugly factor isn't bad enough, there's the miserable functioning. I have yet to meet one that opens and closes well after being used for more than 2 days. After about 2 weeks of being used, not only do they cease to open and close well, but the connection in the wall starts to feel awfully flimsy as well. OK, maybe that can be fixed with some new screws. Or maybe if we Americans didn't build cardboard houses, they wouldn't be so flimsy. Or maybe it's not so simple and CRACK, the next thing you know, the baby gate has been pulled off the wall with drywall still attached. (Or in Germany, it would leave a huge, gapping crater spewing random crumbling pieces of masonry and plaster.) Of course, you really only need a baby gate for about 18 months. And maybe, like us, you think that 18 months passes pretty quick and you'll make do without?
With Noah, we managed to always avoid the need to have a baby gate. Thank goodness for single level living! But in the new house, it just wasn't working. First, we put one at the top of the stairs. Which prevented headfirst diving down the stairs. But we were still spending a lot of time looking at this:
Cute. But not very productive (for me).
My mother suggested we simply barricade the the bottom of the stairs with some furniture. Which at first, sounded like a bad solution. That was mostly because we didn't quite have the technique down. Furniture was falling over on top of Mattias (oh yeah, that's really safe...), or sliding/being pushed out of place, or creating a major hassle for us to get around. Then we figured out this set up:
Odd, I know, but I really do prefer this to a babygate. You what's so ingenious here? Adults - and Noah - can step right over the whole mess. I had Noah demonstrate:
No stupid gate to open and close. And no holes in the wall. I think there's the kernel of a much better design idea here. An idea that would NOT hold up to any sort of building code whatsoever. But you know, whatever. I just don't want another ugly malfunctioning baby gate in my house.
Please, surprise me. Tell me you know about a more elegant solution!