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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Safety First, Crazy Second

Today was Safety Day at Connor's school. He gave me a pretty generic run-down about how they learned what to do if your house is on fire or if a stranger tries to offer you candy. It was all pretty straight forward. It wasn't until bath time tonight though, that I realized exactly how dramatic safety instructions can be.

During the boy's joint bath tonight, Connor decided it was time to teach his brother everything he had learned at school because it wouldn't be fair, after all, to keep all that knowledge to himself. First, he shared what they should do if the house is on fire. "Hudson, we have to run out of our house screaming." Me: "Why do you have to scream." Connor: "Mom, we scream because we are scared." Well, duh. Then, he went on, once they are outside they have to stop, drop and roll just in case "any fire jumped on us while we were running." Okay, that sounds logical. There were a few minutes of chaos while Connor demonstrated proper rolling technique in the bathtub and Hudson tried to emulate. Once that was finished, Connor moved right along to the next crisis. "Now Mushy, when we are outside waiting for our mommy, a stranger might come in his car and try to give us candy." Oh Lord. First of all, where in the world am I in this little story? Still in the burning house? Connor said that his teachers told the class that you never take candy from strangers even if it is your favorite kind. He then let me know that he then told his teacher that his favorite type of candy is vitamins (which is a total kiss-butt thing to say and absolutely not true). "So," he told Hudson (who looked thoroughly confused at this point) "even if the stranger wants to give you ketchup or candy, you don't eat it or go in their car. Do you understand me Hudson?" Hudson nodded an enthusiastic yes. But is Connor satisfied? No. He then starts to pelt Hudson with follow up questions, testing his comprehension. "Hudson if a stranger comes when our house is on fire and wants to give you ketchup are you going to eat it?" Again Hudson responds with a positive "mm, hmmm. Ketchup!" Geez, this was going downhill fast. Connor was now furious that his brother was going to totally disregard his safety lesson and be taken by a ketchup (or vitamin) offering stranger on the day our house burns to the ground because the parents apparently left them alone. He insisted on Hudson getting it right, but by now even I was totally confused.

I tried to deflect the pressure off of our two year old, who had now lost interest and was back to practicing the stop, drop and roll in the bathtub, by trying to clarify with Connor that all those things don't have to happen on the same day in order to be considered a safety issue. Good grief, talk about threat level midnight! After talking things through, we dialed down the drama and separated all the issues into smaller more manageable bites. Yes, we could accidentally catch on fire and no that does not mean a child abduction is imminent. At the same time, does a stranger only offer candy on days when your house is burning and you are out front rolling in the grass? No, they do not.

After everyone was dried off and pajamed up, I just had to ask Connor where I was during this great, imaginary moment of crisis for our family. He thought about it for a minute and said, "Mommy, you were in the house trying to rescue Kenny and Stuart." Oh. Well that makes perfect sense.

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