What is the magic point where we as parents make a decision between being protective and being entertained?
- A toddler running through a hardwood hallway with only a diaper and socks while holding two sharpened pencils… Bad right? Let’s take those pencils away.
- A baby picks up a small marble and slowly moves it towards their curious mouth? Stop it immediately!
Anyone can see that these things will not end happily. The best case is that a lesson is learned. The worst case is not something worth thinking about, let’s just avoid these dangers.
There are some dangers however, as a parent, I see well before they happen and I choose to do nothing. History can be my judge and I’ll let you guys weigh in too. Here are a few situations where the children had to learn their own lesson.
An interesting thing about kids is that they look to older siblings to gauge their own reactions. “If big sister is happy then I should be happy.” or “If big sister cries then I should cry too.”
Lady Bug is exploring the vacuum cleaner which is still plugged into the wall. She has been watching Supermom turn it on and she pokes at the switch.
I quietly corral Supermom so we can watch from across the room and secretly hope it is hilarious. Two other sisters are sitting nearby but not paying attention to their youngest sister. Lady Bug punches the switch and the vacuum roars to life. She is startled but the noise more than startled the sisters. It straight-up scared the bejeezus out of them and they ran out of the room screaming and throwing their crayons and toys wildly into the air. This panic by the two older sisters makes Lady Bug think that maybe she underestimated the vacuum. Maybe the vacuum is not just “on” but instead “trying to kill her”. She scrunches her face and is so panicked that she tries to scream and no sound comes out. Her face is red with tears starting to well up as I turn off the monster and Supermom picks her up. Lady Bug catches her breath and starts screaming. We both start laughing.
Side note: It is very hard to be comforting while laughing.
It is bath time in the secret lair and Prima, Threeto, and Lady Bug are all anxious to start playing the same game that they play everywhere, My Little Pony. The ongoing Days of Our Lives level saga of the mini collectable ponies doesn’t stop for anything. Bath time included. I allow the girls to sit in the tub while the water is running and Threeto is sitting near the faucet and her pony is swimming in the “water fall”. I notice she starts to look at the knob that turns on the shower when pulled upward.
A good parent sees this and says, “Don’t play with that knob. It will do…something….” I don’t know what they say because I instead whispered to my wife in the other room, “Hey!”. I motioned her over with a devilish smile that also said, “You’ve got to see this!!” Supermom is pure of heart so she tiptoes over and peeks around the door frame to watch. The girls are all in their own little world playing with ponies and enjoying the rising bath water. Threeto is continually drawn to the knob with the same curiosity that kills cats. She pulls the tab and from the ensuing screams I could only assume that it released acid with a pH of around 1.0.
Three faces of pure panic. Three screams that alerted neighbors. They all drop their ponies and freeze in a pose that makes them look like they are being electrocuted. Their pleading eyes look towards their parents and beg us to save them from the unholy torture of what is essentially, warm rain. It probably will come out in children’s therapy session that we were unable to help them because we were laughing uncontrollably. I could barely breathe. These are the tough times that were mentioned in our wedding vows. I’m just glad we were there to hold each other up or we might have fallen straight to the floor in laughter and hurt ourselves.
What made it funnier was that they sat there screaming with those “I’m Being Stabbed!” faces and all I could think was that parents finding it funny probably looked really evil to them. Like we planned it or something. Did they have randoms thoughts like, “This must be what a lobster feels like?”
I don’t know I was too busy laughing.
This one involved Lady Bug as well. We have a sectional couch and one section looks like a three-seater but the middle folds down and has coasters for the reclining seats on each end. This fold down end table stays deployed full time and this is where most of the meals are eaten, while the kids watch TV. (Go ahead make some TV, food, or health comment. I’m aware that I suck as a parent.)
Another fun activity that I don’t regulate properly is the fun habit of the kids climbing up and sitting on top of things. If you put that activity together with my couch it can be really funny. One day I hear a blood curdling scream. I race to the living room thinking that a rabid dog or swarm of bees was preparing to attack. I have recreated the probable events that led to the scream in a series of three pictures below. Imagine that the part of small child is being played by an Olaf hat and a Dora backpack;
My adventurous Lady Bug climbed up on the back the couch and sat on the rear edge of the fold down section. Her weight was behind the hinge point and it closed up trapping her in the couch.
All I can see are two wide eyes looking for help. The problem turns out to be a little tougher than I thought.
The folding couch is the equivalent of the Chinese Finger Trap. As I try to pick her up the section tries to fold out again and pinches her. It is like the couch is trying to eat her and once again she panics while I try to stop laughing. Eventually we make it and I am sore with laughter.
So if your kids look to you for calm during the storm and you laugh in their faces like a psychopath, this post is for you. Me too. But sometimes it is just too damn funny! You’re welcome.
-Underdaddy to the rescue.