She is one year old and the darling of my heart. I have known since the minute I found out I was going to be a Grandma that I was going to have to do some work on my bedroom to make it safe for her to play in. But I didn't worry about it too much. Told myself I had six months before I really needed to worry about it. Well that six months went by in a flash, and another, and now she is walking. Now it's a problem. The problem is the carpet tack. When we moved back from Salinas six years ago (six YEARS ago! where did THAT time go?) and back into our house, one of the first things I noticed was that the carpet in our bedroom was gone. But the carpet tack was still nailed to the floor. I have been telling myself all these years that I am getting new carpet, so I need to leave it. Such a silly thing to tell myself. What I really mean is that I am lazy and don't want to do the work. I hate removing carpet tack. It's messy, and requires muscles I don't particularly want to use. Every time I make a careless misstep, though, and catch a tender foot on those darned tacks, I curse my laziness and swear I am going to get after it. Especially if it's the double row of carpet tacks that line the back of the room on an early morning in the dark. Those days I double swear and tell myself that today will be the day. But it never is. We just learn where not to step, and we live with it.
Lately the baby loves nothing more than to play outside the playpen and who can blame her? I have a big soft rug on the floor, and after nap time I lay all her toys out and let her play at my feet on the rug. But of course she doesn't stay on the rug. She is learning to explore, testing her boundaries. We are very careful where we let her step. We block off half the room, the half with the bathroom and cabinets, and keep her away from the walls where the tack is. But keeping her in the middle of the room is getting impossible. Today she discovered the closet door with the mirror on the back. She was adorable and had no idea I was watching her while she did some kind of Kung Fu dance with herself in the mirror. And it was then that my resolve hardened. Today WOULD be the day. She was dancing around perilously close to the carpet tack just outside the closet. I finally had it. So just like that I scooped her up and put her in the playpen with some toys and went to work. Got myself a hammer, a flat head screwdriver and a pair of pliers and tackled that carpet tack. She didn't like it much, being penned in the pen, but I talked to her as I worked. I told her I was making it safe for her, and how much more fun it would be for her once I was done. She could dance and twirl to her heart's delight and nobody would have to worry about her catching a baby toe on any nasty sharp points. And I could relax and enjoy watching her play without worrying that she would hurt herself. Two hours later I swept up the last of the mess, made sure there weren't any splinters or nails I had missed on the floor and took her out of the playpen. I set her down in front of the mirror and smiled at her reflection as she smiled back at me. Life is really, really good these days. Dance away, sweet baby girl, dance away.