Thursday, July 28, 2011

Shocking news...


When I lived in Montreal, in a little apartment on St. Marc, overlooking the Faubourg, I got up early one winter morning and went to get something out of the fridge. The light was not working in the kitchen, and I didn't think this was odd, as we were always blowing bulbs.

As I grabbed the fridge handle, it was as if someone knocked me over the head with a rubber mallet. I was physically pushed back from the fridge, and found myself sitting against the counter. The fridge motor had shorted itself to the frame, and the bulb had blown, but not the fuse, and when the freezer ice melted, it left a puddle of water on the floor that I had been standing in when I touched the door.

Now, I had a pair of leather slippers that I got from my father that were old and ratty, and that I loved. I don't know if the leather kept me from being electrocuted, but I'd like to think that was but one of my nine lives I used up that day.

We all have our close encounters. I just would rather they happen to me than to my kids.

Last night Jenn and I were downstairs after the kids went to bed, and Cole was having quiet time in his room (which he does for a bit before bed), when he came downstairs with a "burn" on his thumb. I was immediately skeptical. What was there to burn himself on in his room? How had he burned himself but nothing else?

He explained he had been 'playing with' one of the electrical outlets in his room, and had pushed his thumb onto it so hard that somehow he made contact. There was a little zap that welted up his thumb, and in an instant a 15A fuse in the basement did what it was designed to, and blew, being the weak part in the system. So, sheepishly, with all the lights out in his room, he came down and told me what happened.

I was furious, and afraid for what could have happened. I pictured my coming across his little body alone in his room with no signs of anything wrong, or how something like this could have happened. It reminded us of how dangerous our world is, and how even the simple things we take for granted can be dangerous.

The reality is that a cheap little 20 year old 15A fuse saved his life.

To think, he could be taken away that easily. Holy crap! I explained to him that he should be very careful around power, ANY power, and that from now on he would be able to tell the other little guys not to mess around with things like that. I hugged him up so tight that he probably couldn't breathe, then I got him a cold pack for his thumb. What else is there to do? As you can see by the picture, it doesn't look any different from any other plug. I'm replacing it anyway. Not only that, but Jenn and I are buying protectors for all the plugs in the house.

It begs the question: How much CAN you protect your children? Is it our jobs as parents to protect them from everything? Well, the real dangerous stuff, yes. But everything? I don't think it's practical. Not only would you have to take helicopter parenting to an extreme, but it creates children who are afraid of risk, who can't think for themselves, and who can't take chances because they can't measure the inherent danger of things.

Every time he walks out that door to catch the bus, or to spend time with his mother (who doesn't seem to mind risk so much - tractors, ATV's etc.), he is at risk. No panic. No run-for-the-hills ... it's risk. It's life. 

Would I want my kids to get zapped? Never. Under the circumstances, though, it was the best possible scenario. You may think I'm crazy for saying this, but here's my reasoning: He wasn't seriously hurt. He won't touch a plug like that again, and he'll be able to tell the other little ones to stay away from the power.

I'm hoping Cole will use that experience for the rest of his other eight lives ;)

 My wife, Jennifer's, blog can be found here:
Cleverly Disguised as Cake

And my first novel, squeakyclean, here:
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1 comment:

  1. Wow, that is wild. My grandson, who is only a wee bit past two, knows how to remove the protectors. Sometimes you want to hold the little ones on your knee and never let them go, but alas, that is not how the world works. You guys don't need any more troubles in your family. Take care folks. I say prayers for you all the time.