Happy 4th of July!
What a fun time for kids! Parades, candy, barbecues, games, songs, and fireworks.
My son LOVES fireworks. Actually, my son LOVES fire. I’m sure I’m not alone because what little kids doesn’t just love the one thing you demand of them not to go near, but as he stares at a bonfire with googly eyes, I can’t help but worry. His favorite relative is Uncle Pete, who built a propane fire pit on his patio and started it up during one family dinner. My son crawled up in his lap and sat quietly watching the fire for quite awhile. That’s why it was so concerning. He doesn’t sit still; he runs like a madman until his little legs give out or one of us wrestles him to the ground. Even now, almost a year since he sat in front of the fire with Uncle Pete, if Uncle Pete is mentioned, my son always says, “I like Uncle Pete. He built a fire just for me.”
When I’m barbecuing, I give him the rundown about the grill. “Do not go near the grill because it will burn you! If you get burned then you’ll be sad and I’ll be sad because you're sad. Also, these things will probably happen if you touch the grill” (after the pain has subsided):
“I’ll take every single one of your toys away.
I’ll throw every piece of candy in this house in the trash.
No movies or tablets for a month (but he’s usually already running on a backlog of this so that would really mean a year).
I’ll take the pool/stock tank away.
I’ll whip your behind like my grandma use to whip mine, with a switch and a grin.”
I try to teach him fire safety, but when it comes to fireworks, my husband basically teaches him the exact opposite. Holding Roman candles, pointing bottle rockets at things they shouldn’t be pointed at, and burning the hair off his arms once in awhile. My son watches in awe and envy.
If left alone with fireworks, every kids experiments, so I’ll never leave him alone. I remember taking my Snappers apart and trying to fill one large Snapper. It blew up in my hand and hurt like hell!
So this obsession with fire comes straight from genetics. My mother grew up on a farm and it’s been said that her own pyromania (and I use the term exactly for her) caused the demise of an outhouse, a smokehouse, and a field. She says she was building a little Indian fort and they needed a campfire, but I’m pretty sure she was just smoking banana beans and it got out of hand.
For full disclosure, I also have to admit, that I had my own obsession with fire, well, really just with birthday candles. I’m not sure if my parents ever knew that, but they will now. When I was little, any chance I could, I would light the birthday candles I found in the cabinet. I was a little monkey and would climb all over the kitchen cabinets. I would grab the candles on the top shelf, light a few, then sneakily put them back in the box before anyone noticed. One time while my mom was in the shower, I was lighting one that was like a sparkler. It popped at me - I panicked and dropped it. It fell on the dining room floor and the carpet caught fire. It was gray shag carpet, so it burned easily. I stamped it out with my tennis shoe and began to freak out. It left a big black circle larger than a coffee mug on the floor. It was rough and melted from the plastic fibers, but it wasn’t burned all the way through. What do I do? What do I do? Blame it on my brother? Yeah, ugh no, she’ll never believe that. He was on the Nintendo when she got in the shower and it would be A-typical if he got off the Nintendo without her screaming at him until he turned it off.
I ran around the house trying to find the scissors. My mom is a hairdresser, so of course the scissors were in the bathroom with her for random haircuts at home.
But I found the little kids paper scissors in the junk drawer in the dining room. It didn’t go smoothly, more yanking out junks rather than cutting them, but I finally got the chunks of black carpet off, and it wasn’t that noticeable, but looked slightly bald. I moved the dining room table over, threw the carpet evidence in the bottom of the trash, replaced the scissors, and shimmied up the cabinets and hid the candles far back and vowed to never get them out again.
Maybe every kid has their somewhat dangerous run-in with fire that teaches them to not ever play with fire. I just hope that my son’s obsession over fire doesn’t burn down the house one day because we don’t have a smokehouse, or an outhouse, or a field to spare.
For now, I’ll just watch him like a hawk and hope that he doesn’t slip something passed me this holiday (or any day).
Be safe this holiday, have fun, and sorry Mom that I burned a hole in your carpet!