Monday, November 14, 2011

We May Need to Do More Childproofing

"What? Didn't you want me to help unload?"

Apparently, we are raising some kind of prodigy. It's a mixed blessing. On the one hand, you can't help but feel intense maternal pride at the great leaps and strides your child is making. But you also know that those same leaps and strides may isolate him from other children. Being a child prodigy can be a lonely life.

It can also be a dangerous one, if your genius is managing to find new and ambitious ways to attempt self-destruction.

In the past week, LO has climbed into the dishwasher (reaching unerringly for the steak knives because the forks, spoons and bowls would not provide Mom and Dad with enough of a heart attack), launched himself out of his high chair (and then despite Mom being there to catch him, he started crying when he realized that gravity did indeed work off that side of the chair) and has been practicing his new skill of standing--on the changing table. (Nothing like a half naked baby standing on a changing table shouting at the dog. I've seen it all now).

What's most impressive about this fearless, self-destructive super power is LO's ability to choose death-defying feats that are most frightening to whichever parent happens to be nearby at the time. I HATE the "Oh, look, I can prove Newton wrong!" physics experiments. While J is not a huge fan of them either, he's also more of a daredevil than I am, so those don't bother him quite like they do me.

And of course, LO decided it would be J who made the first Poison Control call in our happy little family.

It all started last week when J found LO playing with the cap to the bubble bath. LO and cap were in the kitchen. The bubble bath (capless) was still in the bathroom.

"Did LO take the cap off the bath stuff?" J asked me.

I didn't know. It didn't seem possible, as the bottle had a screw cap and since I'm not always the most diligent about replacing the cap firmly while dealing with a naked, squirmy and wet baby boy, it seemed more likely that he'd just pulled the loose cap off. Since baby bubble bath is non-toxic, neither of us gave it another thought.

What we should have done is gone on baby red alert because the child, like the velociraptors in Jurassic Park, was learning and adapting to his environment.

On Sunday, while I was teaching 4th graders at the synagogue, LO got a jar of Vick's VapoRub, unscrewed the cap, and helped himself to a heaping serving of goo all over his hands, mouth and chest.

J realized that LO had ingested some and googled it, only to discover that he needed to contact Poison Control immediately. The folks there were quite reassuring that the child (who refuses to eat chicken but apparently likes the taste of mentholated chest rub) would at worst have a stomach ache.

Herein lies LO's brilliance. If I had been home, I would have been disturbed to realize that he could now open childproof containers, but otherwise it would have been no cause for panic. I happen to know that my own stepfather used to be served Vick's VapoRub dipped in sugar when he was sick as a child and he has suffered no ill effects, other than the deep, abiding and seething hatred for VapoRub. But since J was the one home without that important tidbit of information, LO scored another point for parental worry.

My big concern now is what will happen next with my little genius. Considering the fact that I drove my mother's car into a tree at age 3, and that J has been known to fall off of bicycles going 45 mph, drive cars off cliffs and get hit in the chest with chainsaws, we're really in for it with the daredevil precocity.
Vick's. The Gateway Parental Worry.

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