So even though Lucy isn't walking yet (so very close) she sure can move (like greased lightening), and with our 2 dogs and 2 cats and the fact that she can pull those "babyproof" socket plugs right out in a millisecond we recently invested in a "baby jail". I actually have no idea what this contraption is actually called, because all I've ever referred to it as is "the baby jail", but it looks like several baby gates all attached to one another and it is wonderful.
Esthetically, well, we're not exactly looking like the pages of a Pottery Barn catalog at the moment but, hey, she's happy. We basically turn our family room into a enclosed baby playground with a huge quilt on the floor and toys everywhere, all safety contained within the baby jail. Here Lucy isn't tempted by the seemingly delicious dog beds, seriously every time she would be on the floor she would crawl directly to the (disgusting-even-though-I-wash-them-weekly) dog beds and immediately put her wide open mouth on them. Ew. She would also make a beeline for the electrical outlets (covers-shmovers), the sharp edged brick fireplace or the mean cat...so basically anything that would cause her harm...like a moth to the flame... This "baby jail" has worked wonders.
Every day when I come home from work we spend 1 1/2 to 2 hours playing happily within the (safe) confines of the baby jail. Sometimes this involves throwing our toys over the side with gleeful shrieking ensuing and sometimes it involves sitting quietly with Mama and reading a book, it is great fun for all and I don't have to worry about her trying to tip over the bookcase or getting into the trash under the sink. I'm also looking forward to using it in the yard which I will hopefully get into this year (as opposed to last year when it was a hot mess). I'm hoping to plop her down in the shade of one of our trees with a bunch of toys and books and actually make our garden look halfway decent this year, hurray!
$50 is a small price to pay for piece of mind.
"A little girl can be sweeter (and badder) oftener than anyone else in the world. She can jitter around, and stomp, and make funny noises that frazzle your nerves yet just when you open your mouth she stands there demure with that special look in her eyes. A girl is Innocence playing in the mud, Beauty standing on its head, and Motherhood dragging a doll by the foot." - Alan Beck