Kids: What Were They Thinking?

Geek Culture

The results of leaving talcum power within reach of a toddler.The results of leaving talcum power within reach of a toddler.

A prime example of a "What Were They Thinking?" moment. The room (and house) smelled "talcumy fresh" for months. Photo by Brad Moon

Is there a prime age for “What Were They Thinking?” moments with your kids? If you’re a parent, I think you’ll know what I’m talking about. Those things your progeny do that are utterly beyond your comprehension. The ones that take maybe all of two seconds to pull off, but result in hours, days and even weeks of parental stress. Not to mention the fact that they often end up costing money too. Oh, and there’s often a big clean up effort in the mix as well.

One of my first posts for GeekDad (back about this time in 2007) was about an incident where my twins had jammed my computer’s optical disc slot full of photo paper. There have been many other memorable moments along these line through the years. A pair of toddlers rifling my wife’s purse and distributing handfuls of cash throughout the aisles of a grocery store on a vacation. The pillow full of foam micro beads that was ripped open (a gazillion tiny spheres scattered across the house with the added bonus of static attraction) was fun. If a “gazillion” sounds like an exaggeration, I checked and the manufacturer claims one of these things has millions of beads; so I’m not off by that much. I wrote about that experience a few years ago. Drawing on the off-white carpet with chunks of charred wood pulled out of the fireplace. The two year old jujubes gumming up the seat mechanisms in my truck. Chewed up gum stuck in the door pockets of the van (I suppose at least they were listening when I told them not to swallow it).

There was the entire week — also known as my unfortunate glam rock phase — when I went into the office with glitter in my hair and on my clothes thanks to a craft project gone horribly wrong (even with prodigious vacuuming, several large tubes of glitter takes a long time to disperse), and probably my all-time “favorite”, the bottle of talcum powder emptied throughout my daughter’s room — and dumped down the heating vent for good measure. The last of that stuff didn’t work its way out of the ducts until we had everything professionally blown out after a renovation project five years later.

My kids are older now, with my eldest firmly in the grip of tweenhood and all the joy that encompasses. I had this messed-up idea that as they grew, those moments might be left behind us. Clearly, I was mistaken. Last summer, it was my daughter who managed to nearly asphyxiate herself after getting tangled in a locking seatbelt mechanism. Today, one of the jets in the bathtub was plugged. My wife, who was cleaning it at the time the blockage was discovered, had this nightmare vision that there was some sort of vile creature that had crawled up into it. Nope. On closer examination, the mechanism was jammed with the broken-off head of a Star Wars action figure. Why wouldn’t it be?

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