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A Small Fire Ruined My Party

Wednesday afternoon I had to pick Jane up from a friend’s house and Alexander begged me to let him stay home alone. We talked about what to do, how to answer the phone, when to open the gate (never), and no media. I never mentioned don’t set any fires.

Wednesday night I was supposed to be at a Pre-Oscar party, it was a good one too. My friends at Chevy won Green Car of the Year and used a fleet of Volts to drive celebrities to the Global Green Party.

I was dressed and ready to head out for the evening. I said goodnight to my daughter and went to tuck my son into bed. His bedroom stank and I couldn’t quite place the smell. “Did you fart Alexander?” I gently teased him, and when he gave me a guilty look (as opposed to a chuckle because everyone knows farts are funny) I knew something was going on.

A quick scan of the room revealed a wad of toilet tissue on his desk with holes burnt into it. Burned, as in fire.

Upon closer examination I realized that he’d used his desk lamp to burn holes in the toilet tissue. Now, you may find this odd, but about a year ago we thought we had chemical disaster when we smelled something awful coming from Alexander’s bedroom. Apparently he’d discovered the joy of melting his rubber tipped erasers onto the same desk lamp. Like the toilet tissue it was dangerous, but also to be expected from a curious nine year old boy. Right? We talked to him about the safety issue, he cried, we thought it was all done.


lightbulb after the fire

I asked him when he was playing with the lamp and the toilet tissue and his eyes turned into saucers. He just stared at me.

“Was it when you were home alone?” My voice was cracking

He slowly nodded, and I felt like the world was slipping out from under me. I could hear my mother’s voice in my head: Little kids little problems. Big kids big problems.

If we ever have a problem bigger than this I think I’ll require a trip to the emergency room.

I stood in my son’s bedroom, burnt tissue in my hand and mascara running down my cheeks, “Mis-ter GEE!” I yelled downstairs, “You need to come talk to your son.”

My husband muttered a few things, Alexander nodded. I stood crying like an idiot in my cocktail dress and Mr. G. wrapped the whole thing up with, “Just don’t be stupid.”

We nailed that one.



7 thoughts on “A Small Fire Ruined My Party”

  1. Awww, its scary when you realize some of the absolutely retarded things kids will do out of curiosity. Mine are only 3 and 5, so its more like tasting hand sanitizer and sticking noodles up the noses..little kids little problem. I shudder to think what my 2 will do when they are older. You did nothing wrong. I am sure he learned his lesson. If this is the worst he ever does…count yourself blessed. Sorry you had to have such a crappy Mommy moment.Hugs, mama!

  2. Nine year old boys do things like that. Thank God he didn’t catch his bedroom on fire while he was home alone. Trying to decide when to give your kids a little independence, like staying home alone for a short period, is a difficult decision indeed. I remember some crazy (and some dangerous) things I did when I was a kid.

  3. Sometimes my biggest fear with my children is that they are like I was. I didn’t do drugs or drink, but I got into all sorts of stuff. We used to conduct experiments with fire, with model rocket engines and firecrackers. We jumped off the roof into the swimming pool and rode our bikes off of impromptu platforms etc.

    Sounds like Alexander is just being a boy, doesn’t make it any easier but…

  4. Bill Cosby said it best- Kids have brain damage. Mine are grown and I wonder how I made it without seriously medicating myself. Think of it this way, maybe he will be a scientist or fireman. He should start a kid club with the local fire department and learn about fire safety. You will look back at this (when he’s married) and laugh! {hugs}

  5. My brother went through a pyro phase, and my parents found out, and let him experiment to his heart’s desire. In the dining room, with both of them present. Some families watch tv after dinner, we watched my brother play with fire. It lasted about a month. It concluded with us all trooping out to the backyard while my brother sprayed Lysol at an open flame to “see how it looked.” After that he was finished.

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