Friday, May 1, 2009

BBQ Lighters and Clever Children

Our youngest was always a clever child. At eighteen months he knew how to operate the VCR better than I did. He would put in his favorite movie and using the remote would fast forward to his favorite part, then watch, rewind, and watch, all without the pesky assistance of his parents. When he was two and a half, I installed the usual child-proofing paraphernalia such as the door knob thingies that spin in circles unless one were to depress the buttons on either side in order to engage the actual door knob. He went around behind me and removed them, handing them to his father when hubby couldn’t get into a room. Yes, our child had talent. Alert the press! No one else’s child could be nearly this clever! Shortly thereafter came his most accomplished act of cleverness to date.

Always careful to store lighters so there was no risk of his getting to them, one evening I erred. Having used the BBQ lighter to light candles in the living room, I thought I’d put it back in the cabinet before going to bed. I was wrong. I awoke at 5:00 the next morning to the sound of the smoke detectors screeching their dire warnings. Given it was the middle of winter and we had baseboard heating, it wasn’t uncommon for dust to get caught in those baseboards and smolder causing a bit of smoke to set off the detectors. It had happened before, so when the alarms sounded that morning, I didn’t panic. Upon investigation, imagine my shock and horror to find my loveseat engulfed in foot tall flames, and my two year old standing lighter in hand, a few feet away. The look on his face was at least bemusement; at most it was sheer awe.

Having no fire extinguisher, I dashed to the kitchen to get water while yelling for my oldest son to come help me. Ryan stumbled in bleary eyed, saw the fire, and started doing the hands-in-the-air-monkey-dance! Not helping. I shoved a 7-11 Big Gulp full of water into his hands with instructions to “dump it on the sofa”, and quickly filled another cup as well. We managed to douse the fire, haul the offending sofa out to the carport, flood the scorched carpet, and then survey the damage. After a call to hubby to let him in on the festivities and assure him there was no need to come home from work, I showered, dropped the kids off, and went to work. Oh, the clever part? Even though technically this was an act of arson perpetrated by my own flesh and blood, our insurance fully covered the incident and we thanked Logan profusely while picking out the new carpeting, and for the new furniture as well. We have been known to rent him out on occasion, just in case you were wondering.

Witty Quip of the Day: Fire Extinguishers; get one. I hear they are far more effective than Big Gulp cups.

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