The Hidden Dangers of Fire Safety

I’m the meanest mom in the world. It’s official. This morning it was Boy #2 who bestowed this honor on me. Why, you may ask? What did I do to be worthy of such a title? Did I make him eat All-Bran instead of Cocoa Pebbles? Did I tell him he had to pick up his dirty underwear off the kitchen floor? No–worse. I’m almost too ashamed to even put it in print…Almost.

Here goes. *gulp* I would not let him crawl out his bedroom window (which is on the second floor, mind you) and jump down from the roof. I know, I know. I’m too strict, aren’t I? I’m probably injuring his self-esteem by telling him no…Wow, I really am so mean.

You may be thinking, “This can’t be true. She just made this up because she couldn’t think of anything to write about today.” Well, you’re partly right. I was struggling last night with what I should write about next…so many ideas but none of them really jumping up and down waving their arms going, “Me! Me! Pick me!” That was, until this morning. Leave it up to my kids to provide me with material so rich that the posts practically write themselves. The truth, cliche as it may be, is: I couldn’t make up this s@#t if I tried!

So back to the argument about jumping out the window (Doesn’t every mother have this argument with their 6-year-old? Isn’t it a rite of passage, kind of like arguing with your kid about when she/he can get her/his ears pierced —I am so PC!— or engaging in negotiations about curfews?).

This all started a few nights ago when I was reading a book about firefighters to Boy #2 and Boy #3. I THOUGHT I was being a good mom by initiating the conversation about what we should do in the case of a fire in our house. A house in our neighborhood had recently been destroyed in a fire, so the need for creating a “fire plan” for our family was all too real. So I told Boy #2 that if he couldn’t get out his door, he should climb out the window and wait on the roof for the firefighters to help him down. It was such an innocent comment. Little did I know that it would morph into something ugly and loud a few days later.

Seriously, I told him to get his shoes on and come outside so I could take him and his brother to school. His reply? “I’ll meet you outside. I’m going to go out my window.”

WHAT???!??? At first I thought he was kidding, because my kids often think it’s fun to say things just to stress me out. Then I realized that he was serious–dead serious– or at least jump-off-the-roof-and-break-your-leg-and-get-
taken-away-from-your-family-by-DHS-because-your-mom-let-you-jump-
out-a-second-story-window serious.

“You can’t jump out the window! What the heck are you thinking?” I so patiently said to #2.

“But you told me I could jump out my window!” he yelled back.

“Yeah, if there’s a FIRE in our house and you can’t use the doors!” I hollered, checking my watch to see just HOW late we’d be this morning.

“Well, I’ll just pretend there’s a fire!” he said.

“You can’t jump out your window! Did you hear me? You will BREAK YOUR LEG! Seriously, why are you being soooo irrational?”

“What’s irrational mean?”

(Why did I use the word irrational with a six-year-old??) “It means you aren’t making sense. Now get your shoes on and GET TO THE VAN!”

“No! I’m not going to school if you don’t let me jump out the window!”

“So I’m going to call your teacher and tell her that you refuse to come to school because I won’t let you crawl out your window and jump down a story off the roof and hurt yourself? Good plan!” (If you’re wondering, NO, I NEVER use sarcasm with my kids. NEVER.)

So on the argument went, and if you’re wondering, yes, I did eventually win. ..If you call winning wasting 10 minutes on a fight about jumping out a window (an argument I’m sure half the neighborhood heard), throwing a six-year-old into a van with his brothers and a dog, peeling out of my driveway, and driving like a maniac (or a manic mom) to the school (only coming to “rolling stops” at stop signs), realizing I was so flustered I didn’t even put a bra on…

Such was my morning. At least it gave me something to write about… Is 9:48 too early to start drinking?

12 thoughts on “The Hidden Dangers of Fire Safety”

  1. No, it’s not too early to drink. It’s only noon and I’m stumbling drunk right now.
    JUST KIDDING!!!!!!!!
    Glad my #2 is scared of everything and hasn’t had the urge to jump out of her window, since it’s 3 stories off the ground with no little roof to start on. Hopefully your #2 won’t ever get that urge when he’s at my house! It’s a LOOOOOOONG way down. Just ask my patio umbrella. But, if Grandpa could fix my umbrella from its trip on my roof and back down (hard!) 3 stories to the ground, maybe he could fix your #2 as well if he did the same thing? You know Grandpa can fix ANYTHING.

  2. It sounds like your #2 is like my #2. She will take everything literally. Jump!!!! But there are a lot of dangers in teaching you children safety. Take of instance talking to strangers. When quizzing my #1 on what she would do if she got lost in the mall, she said she would pretty much just sit down and cry because she could not talk to anyone as they are all strangers. Urgh. How you phrase things is very important. That is why we live in a world where “HOT” is printed on coffee cups.

    momof2dancers: I am losing the battle of creative pictures. Just wait till you see what I look like now!

  3. Why is it that victories in motherhood still feel like losing? Yay, pjmom! You kept #2from breaking his leg, and from being sent off to live with a foster family due to your neglect. Your reward? A pouty, sulking, angry kindergartner! (Isn’t that what you wanted behind Door #3?) But, of course, you did the right thing! I agree that there are so many loopholes involved with teaching your kids what to do to stay safe. I’ve found at times I’ve prattled on so long (imagine!) that they’ve stopped listening and only get part of the information. Case in point: when talking about “stranger danger” I told them all the hazards involved with talking to or going to strangers, and then launched immediately into how sometimes we need to rely on strangers for help–like if you’re lost. I kept prattling on about how if that were to happen they should look for someone who is a mommy with children. Or a grandma with grandchildren. Because mommies and grandmas would know best how to help a lost child. (I’m so NOT PC!) Anyhoo, a few days later I quizzed my kids on what they would do if they were lost, and MY #2 started crying. I said, “Are you worried you’re going to get lost?” He sniffed and nodded. “Well,” I said, “that’s why we talk about these things so you know what to do. What did Mommy tell you to do if you were lost?” He then broke into full sobs and choked out, “You said we should find a new mommy!!!”

    Yep. Winning and losing are SO the same thing when you’re a mom.

  4. momof2dancers–I see you’re finally standing upright! Are you giving a speech or riding an old-fashioned scooter? I can’t tell for sure. I do think you’re toilet makes a lovely backdrop, however.

  5. So the lesson I’ve learned is just to avoid trying to teach my kids about stranger danger. Got it.

    nochickensinmyhair, is your picture moldy cheese??? I’m sure there’s a story behind that…

  6. When teaching a science unit on tornadoes…the safety component was to go home and figure out where you might be most safe in a tornado. A mother called me later and said her child was hysterical….and that they would have to move…because according to her child “NO PLACE IN OUR HOUSE IS SAFE!!!”” Actually I had to agree. They lived in a trailer.
    Teaching safety can get you in trouble with parents!!

  7. That is me on a scooter. And notice that I have my trusty dog in there too. This is actually one of the times I was rushing Hallie to the animal ER (in my scooter; it was a nice day) because she ate a sock. Or was it pillow stuffing? Or was it a Sharpay shirt? I forget.
    Anyway, I never noticed the toilet in the pic until you pointed it out. I just buzz around the house so quickly in that thing that I don’t pay attention to my surroundings.
    At least it’s not moldy cheese!

  8. Dr. Sprinkler, if I am ever your way and see your #1 at the mall sitting on a bench crying, I will be sure to leave her alone because I know how she wouldn’t want a stranger to talk to her.
    Just kidding! I would scoop her up and run her to find her dad, the prestigious Dr. Sprinkler, and all the while she’d be screaming, “You’re not my mommy!” and I’d get arrested. But at least she’d be safe.

  9. I just died laughing. pjmom I still don’t know how you do it. I thought my #1 was being over dramatic last night when he was crying in bed because no one was going to “big school with him on Tue” (Mom & Dad have to work and Gma-Ba is going on another quilting trip). He even wanted to call Gma-momof3ps to see if she could go with him (she was at school yesterday). I didn’t have the heart to tell him Gma-momof3ps was going on the same quilting trip as Gma-Ba.

  10. My point was not to teach our children about stranger danger, but that kids sometimes hear things differently than what we say.

    momof2dancers I have taught #1 that if the stranger is “Beautiful” then it is okay to go with them.

  11. pjmom–Yes, you’ve correctly identified my moldy cheese! Though my story about it is more of a confession. I discovered this fungus among us today in my refrigerator. Apparently, I’ve been letting my mozzarella grow facial hair in the deli drawer of our fridge–for how long, I shudder to imagine–all the while thinking it was an innocent block of pepper jack. Par for the course around here.

  12. nochickensinmyhair–LOVE the moldy cheese! Just tell everyone that you’re making your own blue cheese. They’ll think you’re very cultured! (no pun intended) Someday we’ll take a trip through my refrigerator and you’ll feel much better about yourself!

    eababy–welcome aboard! 🙂

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