All is quiet. The long hallway, green carpet a little worn, stretches emptily into the distance. Light filters dimly through the bubbled glass in the front door.
The stair gate leading upstairs is shut. The dining room door is shut. The stair gate in the kitchen door is firmly shut. The lounge door is open.
Suddenly, in the lounge door, just above ground level, a small head and shoulders appear. Two small hands plop gently but resolutely onto that worn green hallway carpet. A few seconds later (it's a bit of a job getting those chubby little legs over the threshhold) the rest of the body struggles into view. Freedom!
What Isaac will do with his liberty, now that he has been released from the confines of the lounge, is anybody's guess. Perhaps he might crawl to the stairs and pull himself up to look wonderingly up that long flight of steps in the direction of his bedroom. Perhaps he'll try to get into the electrical cupboard (locked, needless to say). Perhaps he'll play with the curtain that hangs by the front door or investigate the wheels of his pram. Or perhaps he'll abandon all these nearer delights and come pounding down the hallway to the kitchen where those two small hands will wrap themselves longlingly round the bars of the kitchen gate and a small face will peer beseechingly through. One thing is certain, he's a lot happier now.
In the end it wasn't long in coming. After only a few days of desolate wailing as Isaac crouched by the gate in the lounge door and demanded to be let out, we waved the white flag, baby-proofed the hall and gave him his freedom. It's only limited freedom at the moment but it's keeping him satisfied in a manner which no number of toys placed invitingly on the lounge floor was able to do. I only hope it lasts. How long will it be before he's demanding access to the rest of the ground floor? I don't know but I'm hoping - oh, faint hope - that it won't be for a while yet.