Sunday, March 28, 2010

What’s a ton of prevention worth?

“I remember when we used to have electricity,” I said to my wife Kara last weekend, holding the plug to the vacuum cleaner in the air. “That was so awesome.”

We’d been guilted into the cleaning our house by our son Evan’s daycare provider, who told us as we were picking him up last week that, “I have to wait until you pick up Evan in the afternoon before I can vacuum. It really seems to scare him.”

She said this peering over her glasses at us, the clear implication being that Evan had never seen a vacuum cleaner in operation before. Kara and I took great umbrage at this charge, which was exceeded in its offensiveness only by its veracity.

“Oh, come on, we still have electricity,” Kara replied. “You just have to take the plugs out of the sockets first.”

Much like Johnny Appleseed spreading a trail of trees in his wake, Kara Socketplug travels around our house, plugging sockets I didn’t even know we had, in preparation for a time when our completely immobile son will start wandering around, trying to jab various implements into them.

“Really? Evan won’t be able to reach that plug until he grows three feet and learns to work a stepladder,” I said, pointing to the outlet behind the toaster.

Also, is it possible that we learned a little too much about Johnny Appleseed as kids? We were led to believe that he was a historical figure on par with George Washington and whoever the second president was, but you hardly ever hear anyone making an argument about what our Founding Landscaper intended.

In any event, of course it’s a good thing that Kara is preparing our house for Evan’s impending mobility, but back when we were kids, we all got along just fine, even though I’m pretty sure outlet plugs hadn’t been invented yet. Sure, a kid occasionally stuck some scissors in there, but that just evened the playing field for lefties, whose scissors were coated in green rubber, giving them God-like powers.

Not only did my parents not have outlet plugs, they furnished their living room with a coffee table that consisted of a huge square pane of glass sitting upon a wooden block, which suspended the four pointy glass corners at toddler-head height. If that table was left on a beach on a remote Pacific island, the natives would immediately start using it to crack open coconuts. And to display their hardcover travel books.

“We did everything wrong when you were kids. It’s a wonder anyone survived,” my mom said recently. Mom’s friend had just been babysitting for her new granddaughter who was having a crying fit, so she put a dab of honey on the end of the pacifier, a common practice from when she’d been a new mom, but which is apparently now a no-no.

When the baby’s mother returned home and found out what had happened, she screamed, “Why are you trying to kill my baby?”

If you’re trying to attract a new mother, you might be better off using vinegar. Honey seems to make them mad.

That scene reminded me of the time we’d brought Evan to a party, and our friend Emily dipped her finger in barbecue sauce and lifted it towards Evan’s mouth. I watched in amazement, figuring she was joking, not realizing she was seriously about to give it to him. Kara leapt into action, smacking Emily’s hand like a Kung Fu master at the last moment.

“Ouch!” Emily said.

“Hiiiii-yah!” Kara replied.

New parents are probably justified in being slightly paranoid, though, because we’re getting advice from the same people who used to rub whiskey on our gums when we were teething, presumably because they’d run out of musket balls for us to chew on.

You can crack Mike Todd’s coconuts at

1 comment:

  1. New parents need to stop being so paranoid with all the latest "wives tales" they hear from other young parents. There's a saying, "if it isn't broke, don't fix it". You're parents did just find raising you guys, why not take their advice - it can't be that bad.

    I would have to agree on the vacuum though - I don't think that's a popular household appliance in your home. haha :o)