Monday, November 3, 2014

Parenting Hazards 101: Tiptoeing Through The Toys

The parental equivalent of walking on hot coals.

I think I may need surgery. For the millionth time I have stepped on a toy, causing what I perceive to be irreparable damage to my foot. You would think after 25 years of stepping on 14 kids' millions or billions of toys I would have learned my lesson and taken proper protective measures. Yes, that's right. I should be walking through my house with steel-toed boots. It's every parent's nightmare: You are walking along engaged in something else -- say an iPhone where you are stalking someone on Facebook checking the weather or catching up on the stock markets in Asia -- and you make that fateful step.

A Lego.

A Thomas the Tank train engine.

A Barbie dolly's high heel.

A Lightning McQueen race car.

A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

A toy gun, a Paw Patrol ATV, a Planes "Dusty" airplane, a dress up high heel, a toy earring, any of a thousand different action figures, a toy fork, a Mr. Potato Head nose, a trophy from the youth soccer team, a battery, a light saber, a building block ... I think you get the idea.

I believe if I were to go under the knife a surgeon might find tiny fragments of toys embedded in my feet. Who knows, a surgeon might find enough Legos to make a house.

I bet if upon my demise I were to be mummified, a couple of thousand years from now archaeologists who would stumble upon my remains would puzzle over the collection of tiny plastic building block type things that appeared to have been deposited in the soles of my feet. I envision someone obtaining a Ph.D. writing a paper ascertaining the meaning behind it.

It's one of the great hazards of parenting. Every day we run the gauntlet of toys on the floor, hoping -- praying -- we won't take that fateful step. Of great concern is the nighttime "walk of death." Anyone with hardwood floors knows what I'm talking about. You are on your way to the bathroom in the dark of night, tiptoeing past the kids' bedroom to not wake up the baby and then it happens: You have stepped on Lightning McQueen and it's like they've dropped the green flag at a NASCAR race. The car slips out from underneath you and you are literally flying through the air, half-awake and trying to contain your bladder, and knowing that above all you cannot utter a single sound for fear of waking the baby and you land not just with a bone-crunching thud, but right on top of Luigi, Guido, Mater, Sally, Sarge and Fillmore, who are now embedded, possibly permanently, in your backside. Some people get tattoos. Parents get toys affixed to their bodies, though not by choice. Above all, remember you cannot utter a sound. You must suffer in silence.

When I see a parent limping, my mind automatically thinks, "Oof. That looks serious. Bet they stepped on a Lego." Short of getting rid of all the toys in the house -- I've thought of that more than once -- I don't know how to properly take preventive measures. Other than checking online with the iPhone for deals on steel-toed boots. During which I nearly broke my foot stepping on Thomas the Tank while on my way to fetch my credit card.

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