Monday, March 15, 2010

"Hello, it's us again..."

We were buzzing about our day, accomplishing those pesky tasks that whisper for our attention daily during the week but aren't important enough to tackle until the weekend.  My man and I were "lightScribing" and downloading pastors' conference CDs that needed listening to while folding laundry (he) and baking (me).  The children were doing odd jobs here and there to help with the general upkeep of the place.  Molly was...exploring.

When Molly goes exploring, the locations she selects for her adventures usually involve climbing. 

We have all been trained, therefore, to be alert for our gal to appear precariously balanced on a stool or on the edge of a table stretching her little solid self out over an abyss to reach something.  As with many of her gender, just  as we became skillful Molly-guards, she changed her ways.  

We were all six in the kitchen.  All of us right there, present and accounted for...well, present anyway when we heard, "Maaaaaaachhhhh, arghhhhhhh, thhhhhhhpf, thhhhhhhhhpfffftttttt!"  All of us turned to Molly, from whence came the strange sounds and saw immediately that she had opened the cabinet door beneath the sink and had sampled a "Cascade with Dawn Dishwasher gel pack"!  Her furry white tongue was sticking out of her wiiiiiddddeee open mouth and she was holding the ruptured dishwasher pack in her hand and nodding her head at us as if to say, "Yes, I did it, now somebody please fix it!"  

We rushed toward her en masse, her father and I trying to wade through the other kids from opposite directions.  I reached her first, and my Man took the offending soap pack from her chubby hand.  Swooping her up under my arm I grabbed the detachable faucet and turned the water on full force aiming it toward her mouth.  "Get the package and see what it says to do!" I yelled while rinsing this toddler's mouth with a kitchen equivalent of a garden hose on "jet" setting.  It occurred to me later that Molly's greatest danger was being drowned by her mother wielding the sink squirter and good intentions rather than being poisoned by dishwasher detergent!

My Man grabbed the package and read, "If swallowed give a glass of milk or water and call a doctor or Poison Control immediately."  OK.  Now I was in familiar territory.  I am well versed  in Poison Control and had I not been in the very act of water-boarding a toddler, I probably could have recited the phone number from memory. Instead, I went for the milk and a sippy cup and my Man grabbed the phone.

Still barking authoritatively, I directed, "The Poison Control operator will ask you how old she is.  Tell them 19 months, or is it 20, no...January, February, March..."

"Nineteen months Mom," said my son the math whiz.

"NINETEEN months!" I yelled to my Man who was in the same room.  "And they'll probably ask for her birth date and maybe the brand name of the soap and some other important information.  Just tell them..."

"Hi," said he in a calm voice, "my nineteen month old just bit into a dishwasher pack."  Grinning with relief, he answered the operator's question, "not much of it at all, in fact, most of it is on the kitchen floor...OK, thank you.  Good bye."  Turning to us he said, "The guy said that they get this call all the time.  He said we should watch in her mouth to make sure there aren't any burns from the soap and brush her teeth to be certain there aren't any granules stuck in between." 

"Didn't he ask how the other kids were getting along?" joked my mom when I told her that we'd had to make another call to poison control.  Our stats are now 3 for 4.  Only one of our kiddos has spared us the trauma, bless her! 

Thankful are we for the kind folks at Poison Control who are never condescending and are always understanding.  I wonder if those are qualities that come with training or from lots of experience with freaked-out parents who are already dosing heavy condemnation upon themselves, even as they dial the precious phone number.  We all know what the directions say on the package of dishwasher soap in big letters right before they say "If swallowed...".  It says "KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN".  True enough.  Point taken.  Cabinet fixed. 

The warning really should read this way: "KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN, in the event that you are unable to outsmart your child or are unable to understand the directions thus far and your child swallows this product, give milk or water and call Poison Control and confess your failure."

In my defense, if that detergent is so terribly dangerous to children and comes with warnings, wouldn't it be even more helpful for company to make their product look less like...

 ...a big shiny piece of candy and more like
...Brussels Sprouts?  

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