If the package says “kid-proof” or “child-safe” or “heavy duty,” don’t buy it. They each became an oxymoron at my house.
One morning as I dashed to the bathroom for an overdue shower, my three youngest sons seemed content riding their bikes on the cul-de-sac. Then they found something fascinating – the garage door. Pushing the wall button made it go down. Running under the door made it go up.
Not exactly what the safety experts had in mind!
In less than 10 minutes, my sons had the motor smoking – bike helmets still on their heads. Oh, the irony. As the magic ended, they didn’t fully understand why.
The following day I told the installer, “Put the new control pad three feet higher.” With it out of sight and – in turn – out of mind, the garage door was never a problem again.
Unfortunately, the same logic doesn’t always apply. Take the vacuum cleaner.
“No, the vacuum can’t suck water out of the bathtub.”
“No, the hoses can’t stretch to the top of the stairs.”
But my son Andrew tried both. More duct tape to the rescue.
He even became an expert at sucking up bent paper clips and other kinds of dirt – each time creating a beaver-size dam inside the hose. The vacuum lost suction and wouldn’t pick up anything. But Andrew kept trying – pushing and pushing the vacuum until the motor overheated.
Another one bites the dust!
At first I spent extra money on replacements – thinking the top of the line model would be kid-proof. Silly me. Now I buy basic and cheap – knowing the items will be trash before their intended time.
I felt cursed. Most parents can relate.
But unlike typical kids, mine struggle to learn from their mistakes. That’s the ongoing challenge with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and other brain disorders. They don’t mean to break stuff, but stuff happens – all the time.
And there’s more. My sons’ brains are out of sync – from a lack of sensory integration.
In Michael’s case, he’s too hot much of day. The answer – just open the window. But he forgets about latch and forces it. One day the handle broke.
Worried about tightly closing the back door? He makes sure to slam it every time. One day the glass fell out and crashed on the cement.
Excited to answer the front door? He yanked on the knob repeatedly – without turning it, of course. One day the knob landed in his hand.
I call it super human strength from superhero kids.
The damage used to frustrate me. Now I take it in stride – trying to stay one step ahead of my accident prone sons. In other words, shaming them won’t repair the items. Nor will it fix their brains. That approach might even create a bigger problem for me – the loss of their trust.
So before buying anything new, I think extra hard – not if it will break but when.
That way I’m not disappointed or surprised. Nothing – and I mean nothing – will ever be kid-proof in my home. DCP
Craig Peterson publishes EACH Child every Tuesday. To subscribe, open this link and “Like” the page. https://www.facebook.com/pages/EACH-Child-is-Special-Working-Smarter-Not-Harder-to-Raise-Every-ONE/132153890292369
To follow Craig’s progress in writing a book about raising his six children with special needs, click here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Adopting-Faith-A-Fathers-Unconditional-Love/297933993580946
To follow his son Andrew’s inspiring story, “Like” his special Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/andrewpetersongoesforthegold