Thursday, December 02, 2004

Where There's Smoke

This week the Fairy, who is seven, came home with a lovely little song (if a bit morbid) to be sung to the tune of "B-I-N-G-O." It goes like this:

If there's a fire in my house, this is what I'll do.
Get out and stay out. Get out and stay out.
Get out and stay out. This is what I'll do.

If my clothes should catch on fire, this is what I'll do.
Stop, drop, and roll around. Stop, drop, and roll around.
Stop, drop, and roll around. This is what I'll do.

If smoke makes it hard to breathe, this is what I'll do.
Crawl close to the ground. Crawl close to the ground.
Crawl close to the ground. This is what I'll do.

Suddenly it was all so clear: her anxiety about the paperpile known as "Mommy's Desk" catching fire, her worries about falling into the rosebushes beneath her window should she have to leap from our burning house, her request for a fireladder for Christmas, the way she'd been counting the number of plugs in the outlets lately.

"Are you doing a unit on fire safety in school?" I asked. The answer was an enthusiastic affirmative.

Ah HA!

I'm grateful for the practical education our girls get in school, glad that they learn safety facts as well as their ABC's and algebra. But sometimes I do get a bit exasperated, I'll admit. Take, for instance, the unit on Tornado Survival. Once the girls ascertained that Mommy's Closet was the safest place in the house should a tornado descend from the skies, I began finding certain cherished toys tucked amidst my shoes. Then pillows. Then stashed snack food. After all, they reasoned with me when faced with the evidence, we don't want to starve to death or be uncomfortable while our rescuers dig us out of the rubble. Hard to argue that point, especially when the little dears have had the forsight to include chocolate in the stash. Hmmmm. . .

But by far the most fun I've had from school safety courses occured one evening in the kitchen. Nothing was actually on fire, but there was a lot of steam. Thick steam. Steam that may have had a faintly acrid smell. I was standing by the stove waving my arms for exercise when I heard thumping and spied our daughters bellycrawling across the floor in an impressive military style. "Keep down!" the older commanded the younger, "or the smoke will get into your lungs!" The younger cooperatively hunched lower and puffed out her cheeks in an attempt to hold her breath. I didn't know whether to be insulted or laugh out loud and was trying to make up my mind when the Princess suddenly stopped crawling and propped herself up on her elbows, looking thoughtful. "Actually," she said in a completely normal tone of voice, "this isn't the killing kind of smoke."

Quality education. It's a must.


Joyella said...

I was exactly the same when I was in elementary school learning fire safety. I used to fall asleep at night planning my escape route, and which gerbil I would rescue first, and should I get my money too, or would that take too long. I really wanted one of those ladders too, and as a teen, I had some other creative ideas for it. Fortunately, I never got the ladder, and there has never been a fire in my house- well, none that haven't been planned or under control.

Toad said...

I never realized that we had similar excercises resulting from similar non-killing-smoke that might come from a similar, um, gift. Guess I'll leave it at that . . . ;oD

Anonymous said...

Great Scott! said:

Perhaps I shouln't work late so often...

Cindy said...

Joyella--I wonder if all kids go through this fire-fear phase. I know I did when I was little, too. Hmmmm. . .

My beloved Toad--How I grinned to see that name! Knew who it was immediately, too. :) Now about those exercises. . .I find them most effective if one opens several windows before beginning, don't you. ;) Now, to give you a proper introduction.

Blogosphere, this is my sister (whom I will allow to post her real name or not, as she chooses). There is none more wonderful. :D

Great Scott!--We like it when you're home. Even if you do get a little exciteable, sometimes. ;)

Anonymous said...

Great Scott! said,

I happen to scream, "Fire!" in a perfectly reasonable tone of voice.