Examine the above picture carefully. Which safety statement does not belong? If you have a hard time reading my 7 year old’s handwriting, I am more than happy to assist you:
1. If poison gets in your body tell an adult.
2. Know two ways to leave the fire.
3. Only hold a weapon if an adult is there (although I’m not sure I consider this a very “safe” practice, regardless. I picture my son holding a gun with a grown up around, and it doesn’t make me feel safe.)
4. Never get in a stranger’s car/camper.
5. Jump out the window if you have to.
6. Never go with a stranger.
In case you hadn’t noticed the blue stars vs. the one lone check mark indicating WRONG ANSWER, number 5. is the stand out.
When my kid showed this to me yesterday, I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants. I’m sure whoever saw his safety rules either laughed too, or they shook their heads wearily and wanted to stab their eyes out with pencils, which by the way is NOT a safe practice. I thought it was so funny, I even put it on the fridge of achievements, you know, where a proud parent always puts their child’s most prized work.
My sweet boy didn’t come up with #5 on his own. Oh no, I can stake claim to that.
It’s not as bad as it sounds, mind you. I don’t go around telling him to jump out windows if he has to. That’s just plain silly. I told him to jump out a window if our house is on fire.
It’s more extensive. When he had fire safety this past month, we sat down together and discussed at length what we’d do in case of a fire. We worked on an escape plan that included our sliding door and front door, but he decided to test the limits of scenarios when he asked: “Mom, what do we do if there’s a fire in our living room, and we are upstairs?”
See, our house is a split level. Bedrooms are on the third level. He had a valid question. What would we do if we couldn’t leave the third floor? Of course we’d call the fire dept. to come and save our butts; this wasn’t good enough for him. What if we had to escape NOW? What if the flames were reaching up to us, and we had to get out?!? WHAT WOULD WE DO?
So, I told him I’d bust out the screen on his bedroom window. I’d then proceed to crawl out of said window, hanging from the ledge with my hands and sliding my body down along the length of the house. Then, I’d jump down onto the ground. Our third floor isn’t super high off the ground, so I am pretty sure it would work out OK. Then, I’d either have him imitate me, hanging from the window ledge and then I’d catch him, or if he’s too scared I would just catch him when he jumps out. I know, I know. I have no clue if this plan would be feasible, but I had to tell him something, and in that moment, I truly felt that a potential broken leg would be much better than a lost life.
Now, this would be a worst case scenario, OK? And I really had no idea he would retain what I told him, considering he can’t remember me telling him to brush his teeth. Or that he has to do his homework. Or that he’s grounded.
My first documented “on paper” parenting fail.
I wonder if this will come up tonight at parent teacher conference.