Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Monday, April 28, 2008


I'll start with a zinger - literally. Last night, the Evil Genius snuck out of his room and into his bathroom, quietly closed the door, and proceeded to try and burn down the house.

OK, not really...but almost.

He had a cup dispenser in there for those tiny Dixie Cups, so when he brushes his teeth, he can rinse with a little paper Cars (tm) cup. Note the past tense. He took the thing apart and was playing with the spring, apparently compressing it and letting it fly. Oh, boy, a pointy metal spring to play with!! Eye patch and monocle for my sixth birthday? Check!

At some point, he'd also been playing with some water. I have no idea how he did that without one of us hearing him, but he managed. Cue dramatic, "something's about to happen" music.

Boing!!! goes the spring. Bounce, bounce, oops, it's stuck. On the exposed prongs of the half-pulled-out lava-lamp night light.

Right. Small child standing in puddle near partly-filled sink? Check. Small metal wire object suitable for poking out eyes and sticking into electrical outlets? Check. Exposed prongs partly in live, non-GFI outlet? Check.

We heard him crying in the bathroom and both wandered over to see what the matter could be. He has a particular sort of weeping he does when he's broken something he loves and he knows it was his fault, that he shouldn't have been playing with it that way. But what could that be in the bathroom?

Cue two confused parents looking in on the scene. Hmm. Blackened, scorched outlet? Yep. Small wire dangling from the half-plugged light, only evident when Dad pulls it from the socket? Yep. Confused Dad? Yep. Confused mum? Not so much. Believe it or not, I had it figured out as soon as I saw the wire. I found the rest of the scorched spring on the counter, and from Bird's confused babble figured out the rest.

It seems that the spring sprang, looped onto the plug, and an electrical show like no other commenced until the circuit downstairs tripped. Mind you, our lights never flickered, there was no sound, no smell of smoke. Electric sparks flared out of the socket and into the sink (wet) and onto the floor (wet) and chased our beloved boy over to the tub ("It tried to get me but I ran away and it went down the sink instead"), melting through the spring wire so it dropped onto the counter (except for the tenacious bit that hung on for the duration). When it stopped, he saw his spring on the counter, scorched and shortened, and was heartbroken - that's why the crying.

He wasn't scared by his very near electrocution, no. Nor was he concerned that he could well have cause a house fire, uh-uh. No, he was sad because the spring was ruined and he couldn't play with it any more.

I was quite calm when I explained what could have happened (without terrifying the five-year-old child before he went to sleep). I was quite calm as I told Bird he wasn't to play in the bathroom any more, that it just wasn't safe and he would have to be punished if he did it again. I was quite calm as I asked T to check the wires behind the socket to see if the insulation had melted or been damaged (to his credit, he was feeling the wall, wiping the scorch-soot off the socket, and generally being horrified by the idea of combined electricity, water, and son in the closed-up bathroom, and would likely have thought of taking the thing off the wall eventually - I just wanted to know NOW!). I was quite calm as I went about printing some things for a friend, making up some photo note-cards that I hope to market soon, watching a bit of television. I was quite calm as I sat up until one-thirty this morning feeling both quietly horrified and immensely blessed by the Gods and Fairies who must be hovering around my son in a thick protective cloud and keeping him from death or dismemberment on a regular basis.

There is a reason I bless every home I live in from the foundation up. There's a reason I ask the spirits of a place to recieve us kindly and watch over us. And there is a reason I will be taking a crash-course in wiring so I can put in a GFI socket in his bathroom (near the ceiling!). One can't leave everything to guardian spirits or chance.
I had disturbed, anxious, angry dreams last night. I wonder why??
I scared the hell out of T this morning. I was walking down the hall to remind him to leave me the booster seat (or no rehearsal for me, today), and he was coming out of the kitchen. He turned just as I was about to touch his arm, and he must have jumped a foot. Heh. I bet he was wondering how someone so big can move so quietly. Skillz of a Ninja, yo.


chris said...

Just another parenting day. It's amazing how our species survived this long.

Aunt Becky said...

Eeps! Sounds like Alex in a couple of years. Ben is much, much more cautious.

Kit said...

Yikes! That would freak me out, big time. ~shudder~ I'm SO SO glad everyone is OK.