Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Brain Damaged

I just thought of this story that I need to tell you. My parents will cringe at this memory.

I thought of it because just before Jonah went to bed tonight, the three of us were playing and being silly together in the living room. Jonah was running circles on the rug as is usual pre-bed activity and Nathan and I were sitting in chairs by the fire. We were all tossing this little rubber snake around and laughing. I warned Jonah not to get it on the woodstove or it would quickly melt.

"I melted toys on the woodstove, once..." I told Nathan.

"Oh, reeeeeally?" he said.

So I told him the story.

It was a chilly winter day. I was probably about three years old and my brother, Kristin, was a baby and was playing in a big wooden playpen my Mom had. I think Mom must have been in the kitchen. I was being all motherly and entertaining my little brother.

In the same room where we were playing was the large, double-walled woodstove with which my parents heated the house. It didn't get hot enough on the outside to burn us if we touched it because of the outer casing. There was a grate on top to let the heat out.

Now, I remember exactly and vividly what I was thinking. As for why... well I just have no idea. But somehow it made sense to my three-year old brain.

"Here, Kristin..." I said in a motherly way.

(Here's where things really get nutty...)

"...let me warm up your toys for you."

So I took all the toys (oh, yes, I really did) and lined them up in a neat row on top of the woodstove.

And promptly forgot all about them, of course.

When Mom came to investigate the source of the burnt plastic stench, she found a mess of colorful plastic dripping through the top grate of the woodstove.

I also vividly remember my mortification. Yes, why did I do that? What was I thinking? Mom was mad. I didn't like making Mom mad. I think she yelled. I didn't like it when she yelled.

What goes through a child's head by way of reason when they do things like that? As well as I remember this whole thing, I just have no idea. I think if Jonah did something like that, I would burst an artery. Oh, yeah, there would be yelling.

It's like Bill Cosby said: "All children are BRAAaaAAIN DAMAGED!"

Obviously, I was brain damaged with the best of them.


  1. I remember that.

    It must have been the first winter we were in that house.

    I think that kids do things without thinking about cause and effect. They don't necessarily have reasons. They just do because...

    That's why they need to be given firm boundaries and have to obey just because they must. Otherwise....chaos.

  2. Strangely enough, I do not remember this event. Or, maybe it's not strange to not remember events that transpired when one was 1.5-2 years old. Anyway, I do clearly remember that we had that wood stove until we left Michigan for Oregon (remember when we moved from that not so cool state to this awesome state?). I remember that the subject of the oh-so-briefly-liquefied toys was a common one, and every time we saw the crusty, browned plastic stuck to the wood stove, someone would recount the story of your adolescent decision making.