Welcome to the blog of science fiction author Eileen Rhoadarmer--where science fiction and Mommyhood collide!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day and EPIC MOMMY FAIL

Happy Earth Day!  Did anyone celebrate or plant a tree?  I'd like to plant a tree for Earth Day, but we don't need any more trees.  Our yard was professionally landscaped years before we moved in, and we've got 24 trees--and all but 5 of them are aspens.  I'd say we have a grove, except that they're spread out along the perimeter of the yard, so not very grove-like.  (Except when the aspen system tries to come up in the lawn.)  Unfortunately, aspen thrive at a much higher elevation than we have, so although they do well during the spring and summer, we don't get a pretty firework display in the fall--the leaves just turn brown (maybe a little yellow) and fall off.  Some of them also have a weird condition where the bark peels back and forms something that looks like a sore.  We've never figured out what that is, and since we're hoping to leave, we probably never will.

So I didn't spend Earth Day planting a tree.  It's been an interesting combination of dark, gloomy clouds (with rain) and patches of sunshine, so I decided to "celebrate" during one of the periods of sun by fixing the geyser our sprinkler system created, and dig up a few dandelions with my fancy new weeder.

Awesome tool, you can get right under the root and the curved part gives you great leverage to pull it up, and very little dirt comes too.  Our next-door-neighbor introduced me to this tool just a few days ago.  Kmart didn't have them, but we found one at Sears.

I led my son into the backyard laden with my new tool and some Mighty Putty to fix the sprinkler hole.  My son decided to explore the deck a little and I went down to the big hole the geyser had blown in our dirt.  I was reaching into the hole, trying to get the sprinkler pipe clean, when I looked back and saw that my son was starting to come down the steps off the deck.  Now, there's only a railing on one side of the steps--something we've recognized as a hazard but not done anything about.  It's not a big staircase--only seven steps--and he's handled it fine before, but today he was coming down close to the unrailed side.  I called out to be careful, but even as I was leaping to my feet he slipped off the edge of the stairs.  He was going feet first and actually managed to land on his feet, but only for a brief moment.  You see, right next to the stairs from the deck is a small fountain/pond.  He had very little space to get his footing, so his momentum carried him in, backwards, with a splash.
It hasn't looked this nice in years.  It loses so much water while running, and it's annoying to keep the plants out of it, that we don't often set it up to run.  We've been talking about the fact that it's a hazard since before I ever got pregnant, and debating the merits of making some sort of cover for it--but that's one more thing that just hasn't gotten done.

I was already running to him as I saw this happen, using words I typically try not to utter in his presence.  His face was above water, and he was crying.  I hauled the soggy boy out of the pond and carried him straight to the bathtub.  (Ironically, on our way out the door I'd been thinking of how much rain we'd gotten and how he would probably get soaked from the grass.)  I stripped us both down, and it was bathtime.  Two spur-of-the-moment baths in one week!  There really was no option not to bathe him at that point--the fountain was not full because we'd filled and groomed it, it was full from a season's worth of snowmelt (plus a little rain) and the smell reminded me forcibly of the zoo.

I let him play with his bath crayons for a long time and even gave him a written apology on the side of the tub:  "I love you.  I'm sorry I didn't supervise properly.  I'm sorry you fell."  He giggled, smiled, and splashed.  I can only hope he'll be this quick to forgive later in life.

After his bath, we went back outside.  I was both relieved and chagrined that he showed no fear of the stairs after his fall.  We'd lost the sun, but I still managed to get the pipe epoxied and most of the dandelions pulled before it started sprinkling on us.  My son climbed in my lap and pointed at the sky when he heard thunder.

This Earth Day, I learned the importance of supervision in protecting my most important thing on Earth.


chadwig said...

Good post Eileen. Julie once had an old tub she wanted to use as a little pond/fountain thing in our back yard.

She changed her mind when I asked her where she wanted to place this "drowning pond".

The fact that you are such a diligent mom is what kept your boy safe Eileen. This is not an epic fail. Believe me, I have stories I could tell you...

Cyndy Rhoadarmer said...

Okay, this one did not have me rolling on the floor in laughter. Instead I was on the edge of my seat until I read that Robin was okay. I definitely think this was due to being the Grammy. Glad you're both recovered! Gotta look into that tool. (Need help getting those tubs covered/filled in?)

Linda said...

I think I'm with Grammy here, time for the water feature to go. Although I must say, I don't remember being as worried about stairs, falling, water etc when I actually had kids as I am now without them around!

Anyway, no harm done except to your blood pressure. Thank goodness.