Sometimes a mother has inclinations or instincts that she should recognize and act upon. Sometimes she is too lazy and/or forgetful, and then she pays a hefty price. This is a story of just that…please read on.
Yesterday morning, whilst I was getting ready for work, I noticed that a new canister of Comet with Bleach, you know the old-school powder stuff, was just sitting there in plain view and within easy reach of the little ones. I thought to myself, “Self, you really should put that away.” I then continued to fix my hair. A little while later, Little B came in to the laundry room to start getting ready for school. “What’s THIS?” he asked, having been drawn like a magnet towards the one thing in the room he shouldn’t mess with, of course. “It’s a cleaner, but don’t mess with that, I need to put it away.” “Why can’t I mess with it?” he asked. “Because. It’s got chemicals in it. It could hurt you.” “Why? What are chemicals?” “Chemicals are the stuff they put in cleaners and stuff to kill germs.” “Oh! Could they kill me?” “Well, I don’t know, but they could hurt you so just leave it alone.” “But answer me, it’s just a yes or no question. Could it kill me or not?” “I guess, technically it could kill you, so please just leave it alone, okay?” “Okay. But how do chemicals kill germs?” “I don’t know, B…I really need to finish getting ready. Why don’t you ask your teacher about that, okay?” “Okay!”
The morning then moved on as usual. I never thought again about putting away the Comet. I think you know where this is going, but humor me here. It’s a better story than you think.
Yesterday when I got home from work, Little B told mentioned in passing that he had talked to his teacher about chemicals, and she had told him some stuff. I wasn’t listening really well, but I am pretty sure she passed on some valuable warnings to B about chemicals, sealing the deal about him leaving them alone. In a not-so-rare moment of motherhoodism failure, it did not occur to me that I had forgotten to put away the Comet.
Dinner time rolled around. After dinner, it was B’s turn to take a bath. I went outside with my co-dependant dog after dinner, which is customary, because she finds it very difficult to relieve herself when outside of my presence. We do this every evening for about 20 minutes. When I came inside, I was filled in on what had occurred in my absence.
It seems that no one (and by no one I mean “me”) had thought to fill Little A in on the “Chemicals can kill you” information. She took it upon herself to go into the laundry room, open the Comet, and sprinkle it all over the laundry room floor. She apparently backed her way down the hall and into the bathroom, where Little B was playing in the tub. She began slinging the Comet in the air, and when Little B realized what was happening, he began to scream, “A! Stop that! That’s CHEMICALS! You are going to KILL US!!” And he leapt from the tub, and ran down the hallway, wet and naked, to let Zohrhubby know that an A had unleashed an Apocalypse in the bathroom. He slipped while running down the hall and busted his butt, causing a louder and even more emergent scream to come from his body. Zohrhubby jumped up, not knowing what was going on, but hearing the sheer terror coming from B…something about A trying to kill him and that she was still in there and she was going to die!
Zohrhubby, you see, had not been privy to the conversations about the Comet and the chemicals and the impending doom, and therefore he was very confused and upset by what was happening. He DID understand once he arrived on the scene of the crime, that both kids had to now be decontaminated in the shower, and so he took care of that right away. Tween C, meanwhile, was cleaning up the Comet as best she could with a broom and a wet towel.
We managed to calm B down, and assured him that Zohrhubby’s swift action had saved he and his sister’s lives. Little A got “the talk” about the Comet and the chemicals and the death, and she seemed to truly regret that she had nearly ended both her brother’s life and her own.
Zohrhubby had to be filled in on the background story so he would understand Little B’s complete mental breakdown. Doing so required me to admit to another human being that I knew the Comet was there, I had considered the need for me to put it away, and then I had walked away from it. Not once…not twice…but THREE TIMES.
There were warning signs all over the place, and I ignored all of them. This is yet one more example of how shocking it is to me that God placed not one, not two, but FOUR children in my care.
I can’t wait for Little B to head to school today and tell his teacher about his brush with death by chemical annihilation last night.
What a great parent I am. Just awesome. Right?!