Thursday, 23 February 2012

How My Mother Ruined My Life (Part 2 Of 7,000,000,000)

So, when my sister and I were little, we went through a phase where we would run around the house screaming "Fire! Fire! Fire!", because it was funny to watch everyone come running. This phase only lasted a week or so, because we got in major trouble for doing it. (Remember this.)

Mom is super crafty. When we were growing up, she crocheted, she hooked rugs, she painted plates with birds and flowers, and she did that weird thing where you curl the paper around a tiny metal hook and schmeared it with glue and made 3-dimensional landscapes and country scenes in a frame (she knows what it's called, but I'm pretty sure no one else does).

Anyway, because of her incredible talent for building something out of nothing, slapping it with a coat of lacquer, and producing a masterpiece, craft times as kids were pretty fun.

One day, as the afternoon wore on and mom had no idea what to do with me, we found there were no cool craft supplies in the house. So she had to fall back on the egg carton caterpillar- you know the one I'm talking about. If you've had kids and ever run out of fun stuff in that ugly hour between Lego and dinner, you've probably made one. Half an egg carton, a pipe cleaner, googly eyes and a few markers, and you're good to go.

So mom and I put this caterpillar together, and when we reached the end of our project, she realized we had no pipe cleaners. Being that she's super mom, she had no problems coming up with a solution- she grabbed a few matches out of the jar above the stove, jammed them through the cardboard, and I was good to go.

I spent the rest of the afternoon in my room playing with that thing (did we all have longer attention spans back then, or did the lead paint on our walls just make us all mildly slow? I ask because there's no WAY any of my kids would have played for 3 hours with some crappy 3 cent craft...), and the inevitable finally happened. As I was 'crawling' the caterpillar along my (toxic-paint-covered) wall, I accidentally managed to strike one of the (unburnt) matches, which flared up and immediately ignited the cardboard body.

I instinctively threw the thing away from me as fast and as far as I could, which was, unfortunately, in the direction of my bed. When the bedding lit up and started to REALLY smolder, I did the only thing I could think of and threw open my door and tore down the hallway, screaming "Fire! Fire! Fire!"

(Here's where mom's bad planning and my stupidity cross paths and nearly disfigure me....)

As I came flying around the corner into the kitchen, screeching at the top of my lungs, my father, who had just returned from work, scooped me up and growled, "We told you not to do that fire thing again. I've had it- you can sit in your room till dinner time."


As we marched down the hallway to my room, I tried desperately to explain to my dad (who had heard it 736,591,374,019 times that week and was having NO more of it, thank you very much!) that it WAS a real fire, and I was telling the truth that time.

I will never forget the look on his face when he tossed open my bedroom door to see the smoke billowing out and my bed skirt in flames. It made the whole episode worth while. I've never seen anyone out side of a cartoon strip make that big, shocked 'O' with their eyes and mouth. Didn't actually know it could be done.

When my mother realised what had happened, she (understandably) felt horrible. Although 'playing with matches' is right up there with 'running with scissors' and 'taking candy from strangers', she was so desperate to entertain me that afternoon that she completely neglected to burn the match heads before she gave them to the 4 year old.

Luckily, I am here to remind her (every day, should the need arise), that craft time can kill.

I'm sure she's grateful.


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