CR had just learned to get out of his crib, and I mean, within the last few days. And by “get out,” I mean, he’d take a few swinging starts, launch himself over the side, and plummet to the floor. It would sound like “squeak squeak squeak THUD!” The first two times, he cried a FIT, but the next few, he didn’t care.
“We should do something,” says wife and I.
A few days later, it was early morning, maybe like 6am. My son wakes me up at our bed, which means he got out of the crib and somehow used two doorknobs. He is covered with huge splotches of a dark red substance, and says softly, “I got cut.” THANKFULLY, even though my brain was still half asleep, I had the presence of mind to cut off any rising panic to say a PSA: “If my son was bleeding THAT bad, he’d be unconscious. That is all.” He also smelled like fruit. My wife later said she would have freaked out worse than when he fell out the second story window (another story for a later post).
I picked him up and carried him to the lit bathroom. He was sticky, and smelled a little like frosting. The red stain was now dark red with splotches of purple, and it had completely ruined his shirt. It also was not coming off his skin very well, and our bathtub drain looked like the end of the shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.” I scrubbed off what I could, and once I determined he was not sticky anymore, I found the “cut,” which was indeed a deep gash under his kneecap. Asking what happened, he only said, “I feed da kittee, an’ da bow cut me.” I left him with my stunned wife.
“What happened to his face? He looks like a purple cow!”
I followed the dark red hand prints down the stairwell and to the kitchen. The fridge was open. Gloppy red and pink hand prints overlapped in a straight ring around the kitchen, like some border one might find in a Kindergarten art room. My two cats, Pookie and Mikey, were watching a recently new kitten, Artoo, licking the hand prints with pleasured abandon. Artoo, once a black and white kitten, was now a black, white, red, and purple kitten; he looked like some cartoon animal out of “The Flintstones.” Pookie and Mikey looked on with disgusted disapproval at Artoo’s slurping of the walls.
Slurp, slurp, slurp.
My son had gotten into the huge tub of butter substitute and the bulk can of Black Cherry Kool-aid, mixed the two, and spread it in the patterns that Artoo was licking, because, hey, free butter substitute!
Slurp, slurp, slurp.
I removed the kitten, who mewed in protest, and then farted. I looked at the cat food area, and saw the self-stamped claim “unbreakable” glass cat food bowl (made from a thick, Pyrex-like material)... broken into four neat shards. This is what my son cut himself on, but how he broke it will always be a mystery. Wet cat food kibble and reddish stains snaked around the floor like Disney-colored puke.
My kitten farted again. He was licking his face and farted every time I moved him around, and while he came to us with stomach problems (tapeworm), they had never been THIS bad. I couldn't put him down, because he'd go right back to the butter substitute. Finally, I had to lock him in a crate, and he howled in protest the whole time I was scrubbing the walls.
- Thanks to washable paint and varnish, most of the hand prints came off. The drywall was later replaced due to an unrelated flooding.
- The “unbreakable” bowl was thrown away, metal salad bowls were used instead from then on.
- My son’s cut healed with no scar. The red/purple stains lasted about a week, which brought this comment from a well-meaning woman at the grocery store: “They have laser treatment for birth marks now...”
- My kitten farting was a precursor to the horrific diarrhea that lasted three days, two episodes ending in a bath; a result from all that butter substitute. His red splotches lasted for months, but eventually faded with a combination of an adult coat and a visit to the vet who apparently had shampoo “for these sorts of things” when he got fixed.
- We “fixed” the doorknob to his bedroom to spin without catching the latch from the inside of the door unless you squeezed the doorknob and pushed it to one side. He figured that out by age 4, but by then he was less likely to injure himself... supposedly (the worst incidient after that was he managed to eat a platter of rum balls a friend of ours made for a dinner party and got totally shitfaced fallover drunk).