The Great Spring Cleaning Incident of 2008

May 12, 2008

Thank goodness no one was hurt.

It's a miracle that James is okay.

I guarantee that we will never be so negligent again.

Okay, now that I've gotten the necessary disclaimers out of the way, I'll let you know what happened.

Last week Jared took the initiative to remove the storm windows and replace them with our seasonally appropriate screens--not a small job. I was thrilled to see this kind of action on my husband's part because a) I'm far too lazy to do it my self, and b) he's usually kind of lazy, too.

But there he was, going from window to window, whistling while he worked, mingling the occasional swear-word into the melody. He repaired a few screens, he cleaned the windows spotless, and he even let James follow him around with a plastic replica of a jack-hammer.

Several hours into his project, I announced that dinner guests were on their way and Jared would have to finish up later. He happily quit the job mid window-wipe and came downstairs to take a shower.

Three days later, after the task had been long completed, I brought a kicking and screaming James upstairs for his afternoon nap. I put the overtired little angel in his bed, tossed him a couple of books, and shut the door behind me.

As I flopped on the couch to watch a mid-day soap or three, I was amazed to hear almost nothing coming from James's room--there was total and complete silence. I let out a long slow sigh, licked the chip grease from every finger, and thanked the air that my kid was finally sleeping.

Imagine my disappointment when I heard James screaming and crying ten minutes later. I marched upstairs ready to hurl my forty pound bundle back in bed, but let me tell you, that plan was quickly shot to hell. When I opened the door, I found my three year old son holding a bottle filled with bleach spray.

Please understand, we don't usually let our child play with heavy-duty cleaning chemicals unsupervised--the spray bottle was inadvertently left upstairs after Thursday's window washing extravaganza. And of course, being a developmentally normal three-year-old, James found it, loved it, and used it.

I approached James slowly and said, "Whatcha doing bud?" and he casually replied, "I es just cweanin' for da summah!"

"Well James," I replied, "It looks like you've gotten everything! I'll take your soap now." And he willingly handed it over. Then I took James out of his bleach-splotched clothes and immediately put him in the tub.

After his bath I went to assess the damage and I've got to admit, the kid barely missed a spot. He had bleached everything from his walls, to the floor, himself, his monkey stuffed animal, his rug, his furniture, his books, even his nightlight.

His room still smells like an indoor pool, and we start the full-out remodel today. And trust me folks, this room needs a full-out remodel. It looks like a DeadHead's paradise--every square inch is tie-dyded.

I spent my entire Mother's Day brushing up on CPR, the Heimlich Maneuver, and thanking God and Mother Nature that my child wasn't injured. In between prayers of gratitude I occasionally pictured myself whacking Jared in the gonads with a frying pan--but those images didn't last long, this was an honest-to-goodness mistake.

We're just sad that we're no longer in the running for the Parents of the Year award.


Laura said...

Very glad to hear that James is okay! How scary... this is why I'm not ready to be a mom yet, because if you turn your back for 1 second, you never know what will happen.

Bahston Beans said...

I hope his fro didn't get bleached!

Rob & Katy said...

this story inspired rob to finally childproof the bathroom vanity. thanks!

Hilary said...

Oh, Amy.. my own audible gasp when I read that he was holding the bleach must have been small compared to the lurch in your own heart. I'm so glad he was unharmed.. but what was the screaming and crying about?

Amy said...

The screaming and crying was due to the fact that he sprayed down his Cars nightlight and it wouldn't work anymore. I think he also got a little shock when he tried to turn in on.
I know, I know, I'm an awesome mom :(

Hilary said...

You *are* absolutely an awesome Mom. We all make mistakes.. the lucky parents get away with it.. the good parents learn from it. I have no doubt you've gone over it a zillion times in your head. Don't beat yourself up over it.. just give him a hug. :)

Brad and Rebecca said...

OH AMY!!!! That is terrible! I am glad the little man didn't drink any!!!

Hurricane said...

We have all done things like that Amy, just be thankful that it wasn't worse....and next time, if he does get it, send him into the bathroom, it sounds like he would do a great job cleaning in there!

Heather said...

Oh no! Glad to hear James is ok. Between this and the lysol wipes incident it's been a bad week for you guys and bleach products!

akshaye said...

Phew.. glad to hear that James is ok. It was a complete accident.. couldve happened with anyone. Dont be too hard on yourself

Scrap Happy said...

I was worried you were going to say he had fallen out of a screen-less window - whew! This was nothin' babe!

Yes, I'm a complete stranger. Hope you're not weirded out.

Grandma said...

at least James had a goal of summer cleaning .... long before you were that age, you had eaten Noxzema skin cream from the jar and cold ashes from under the Weber grill...(and I remember Poison Control said that was the same as having hot dogs!)Oh and let's not forget the hemotoma for coming up and walloping your head under the kitchen table.

chattypatra said...

Oh, Amy! What a terrifying moment for you. It's a testament to a woman's instinct to protect her children that you were able to fake being calm so that your son wouldn't be scared. He certainly had protection from above, that he didn't spray any on himself!

Poor Jared...I bet he feels guilty as heck.

Glad to know everything's okay. Please remember that what your friends here are saying is true - this is not anyone's fault - things like that happen all the time.

We love you!

Sue said...

ACK! Ditto what ScrapHappy said - I thought you were going to say he fell out of the window.

I'm glad his adorable little self is o.k.

MissAllycat said...

I hope you learned your lesson - DON'T EVER CLEAN. :)

Glad to hear everyone is okay!

Maraiya said...

I love bad mommy moments; they make me feel normal. My worst: I left my 4 mo old in his car seat on the dishwasher. He moved and fell. Yikes. I think I stayed up all night and watched him sleep. It's freaky scary being a human and then also being a mom.

Kadi, John and girls said...

Amy, I can totally empathize with you. If I told you some of the many stories of our girls close calls you would call DHS and they would take my kids away. Ill never forget when Christine was five and I left the butcher knife out on the cutting board. Never mind I dont want to bore you with a fictious story! I love reading your blog it is very efervescent, ah refreshing!

Brianna said...

Three year olds are TOTALLY untrustworthy - at all times. Mine is nearly 4, so they ARE able to live through it (fingers crossed that remains true for the next 2 months). You never know what they'll think of next and you'll be amazed at how you discover how smart they're becoming. Like my son and his use of screwdrivers . . . you don't even want to know!

Hang in there! This might be the year we both turn prematurely grey - I've already discovered 3 grey hairs in the last 3 months!