Friday, February 24, 2012

Trouble with a Capital T

We made it through 15 years of raising kids without ever having to call Poison Control. Then The Baby came along. And, she is trouble with a capital T.

A few weeks ago, The Baby showed me a new trick. When I went to retrieve her from her nap, I found her straddling the top of the crib rail, threatening to throw herself head first onto the floor. When the other three children were a bit older than The Baby, they had each interrupted the quiet of  nap hour with  a startling thud. I would run frantically to their bedrooms to find them with a look of shock and pride on their faces realizing that they had made it to the other side. They soon mastered climbing out of the crib, sneaking off to do things like steal parmesan cheese from the fridge and sprinkling it on the carpeted stairs or unloading the closets of their contents. All were signals that they were ready for a twin sized, big kid bed (and a hook and eye lock on the outside of the door).

But, The Baby was much younger than her siblings were when they made their jail breaks. And, we were not prepared to buy a new mattress set yet. We tried to reconfigure the crib into a day bed, removing the side rail. But, we quickly dismantled the whole contraption after realizing that she was no longer going to sleep in it. She was instead going use the crib mattress as a launching pad to spring herself across the room to her big sister's bed. As that provided more opportunities for injury, we decided  to clear out  her corner of the room leaving her with the pitiful little crib mattress on the floor, nestled in the corner. She proved that she could not handle her new freedom yet by keeping her big sister up all night dancing and singing in the middle of the bedroom. I resorted to the pack and play, an intimately contained space that was much lower to the ground in case she decided to topple over the side. She did not protest; and, in fact, she slept more peacefully in her new accommodations. We soon realized, much to our disappointment, that her easy surrender to sleep was a mere symptom of falling ill with a double ear infection and RSV.

When The Baby had finally perked back up to her rambunctious self, I found her with her leg hanging over the side of the pack and play. I asked her if she could get out, "Yeah!" she exclaimed. She demonstrated by flopping hard on the floor. After discussing it with The Mr., we decided to bring back the crib mattress until we could buy a twin bed. I worried that she would some how jostle the components that kept the pack and play upright and collapse the whole mess on herself. She slept sweetly on the floor her first night. And she appeared as if she would fall into an easy sleep for her nap yesterday afternoon. But, a mere ten minutes after I had tucked her in, she let out a painful cry. I rushed upstairs to find her rubbing her eyes and holding a 1oz. bottled of Jelly Donut scented hand sanitizer which was now only half full. We had previously instructed Princess Commando to remove all things from the room  that were breakable or small enough to get lodged in a toddler's throat; but there was one tiny treasure box of random goods that we had overlooked on the floor near her bed. And, until yesterday, it had gone unnoticed.

The noxious smell of synthetic jelly donut drenched in alcohol gagged us as we tried to tend to our wailing kid. Although she did admit to eating it, it looked like most of it was on her shirt. After 15 years of never having to even consider the Poison Control magnet on the fridge, I went tearing downstairs to get the number only to remember that the magnet had been a casualty months earlier in a terrible magnet in dog water drowning brought on by, none other than, The Baby. The Mr. managed to find the number and called them while I soaked her eye. They assured us that she probably didn't ingest much because hand sanitizer tastes god awful. After a cup of milk and a ten minute flushing of the eyes, she would be all right. She was angry- not because it stung and nearly blinded her but because Jelly Donut scented hand sanitizer does not taste like a jelly donut. (It doesn't smell like it either). She wagged her pointer finger at me and yelled, in a very stern voice, 'Don't ever touch it!'

The Baby has once again proven that all of the comfort level and the methods we have grown accustomed to in our parenting cannot be applied to all young children. Today I will be examining all of the areas where I might have become complacent in my parenting. It is sure to be an eye opening exercise.


  1. im really happy that the baby is fine! ps: i love the illustration!

  2. Beautifully written. Lesson learned - smells can't be trusted.

    1. Thanks, Julie. For The Baby, we have to worry about how things look to her. It's amazing how many things look like candy that are not candy (like candy shaped erasers the kids bring home from school). Seriously, this girl is making up for the very smooth toddler years we had with the older three kids. It's keeping me on my toes and wearing me out (why couldn't she have come first when I had the advantage of youth on my side? It's probably better she came last. She probably would have been an only child if she had come first :-)