When a child of the tender age of 1 toddles around, they seem so beautiful and innocent. And they are. But they are not as ignorant as we may often believe. While they may not understand specific words or commands, a child of one year is definitely knowledgeable of certain things that make you tense or frustrated. For example, while you make numerous attempts to block off the stairs, they continually attempt to circumvent your feeble measures. Whether it is climbing through the crack in your defenses or physically pulling the barricade down, a determined baby is a strong force with which to reckon. (This was my experience today.)
I have discovered that a one-year-old baby also demands what they want, and when they are successfully circumvented, they can pitch quite a fit. Telling a determined baby that they cannot climb the stairs can invoke a spectacular burst of tears. This is, however, the way they learn. Whether it is digging in the "no no" cupboards or rifling through the open trash can, toddling babies love to watch you scold them time and again. They fuss when you remove them, but they race back to the forbidden object with great glee. Oftentimes they glance over their shoulder at you, giving you a look very knowledgeable of your opinion of their actions.
Through perseverance and a few tricks of the trade, you can teach your growing child the valuable lessons of "No" and "Stop" which they will use throughout their lives. If your stairs are not gateable with a standard baby gate, try placing a different barrier in front. Or if your stairs (like mine) have spindles instead of walls, slide the gate through the spindles on the lowest step. For off-limits cupboards, there are numerous gadgets to be found at stores. Or you can just slip a tight rubber band around the handles. You can also try and keep the lower cupboards full of unbreakable dishes or dish rags. As for the trash can, find a cover. Or keep it out of reach. Good luck!