For future reference, when baking popovers I will heat up the pan THEN melt butter in each muffin-spot as I go. In this way I won’t butter more spots than I have batter for.

You see, around ten minutes after I’d put the pan into the oven, only nine of the twelve spots filled, Cameron and I had settled down in the livingroom to make castles out of blocks. Suddenly the apartment was filled with the ear splitting beeeeeeeeeeeep of the smoke alarm.

My first thought was that this would be loud and distressing to Cameron, and I jumped up to dash over and shut the thing off. Wrong move. Poor Cameron was indeed distressed and scared, then Mommy left him! Hearing his screams I dashed back, grabbed him, grabbed the still beeeeping smoke detector, carried that and a shrieking toddler to the kitchen to turn down the oven.

By that time I’d popped out the batteries, and headed to do the same for the other detectors, so we didn’t have an encore. Then we settled down to deal with the teary results.

Okay, we hadn’t really talked about the smoke detectors before, as the subject hadn’t come up. So I figured I’d tell him what it was all about. Instead of just saying that they smell smoke and start to beep, and the smoke came from the oven because the butter got too hot, I oh-so-thoughtfully told him about fire and smoke and how these alarms let us know when there’s smoke because there may be fire and we’d have to go outside and it’d all be okay because the firefighters would come and put out the fire. Talk about feeding the flames. I had one scared little freaked out boy. We snuggled in the comfy chair for a bit, then in my bed. He relaxed, sort of, but his eyes stayed wide open.

I’ve assured him that I jumped up and left him because I knew it was safe, because I knew I’d put something in the oven that would make smoke. I then went on to say that if it was a real fire I would NOT leave him, I would grab him and take him with me. My biggest, most important job in my whole life is keeping him safe.

It was all he wanted to talk about while we peeled the boiled eggs. Again and again at supper time he related how the “shuhmoke” (I can’t quite write how he pronounces smoke) de-tek-tor says there’s gonna be a fire and we have to get out and the firefighters come and they’ll do a fire right here. RIGHT HERE. In kitchen.

We put the batteries back in the smoke detectors, and I explained in a sole moment of insight that they’re just like the dragons. His dragons keep him safe, they guard him. They have big sharp teeth. Smoke detectors don’t have teeth, but they sure do shriek loudly, and so they guard us too. That made it much better – he has a dragon above his door, Mommy has a smoke detector instead.

Distraction in the form of Happy Feet helped too.

The dragon who guards his door and keeps him safe has never gotten such goodnight kisses and hugs before tonight.

And further …
The topic of a house fire scares the shit out of me.

Hang the whole minimal spending thing. I’m ordering one of these, as there’s really no safe exit from Cameron’s room or the living room. Hell, maybe one for the kitchen, one for his bedroom (mine has a built-in fire escape ladder), one for the livingroom. And five more smoke detectors. I’ll hold off a little bit, let the paranoia go down to just plain reasonable concern, and see what I think.



  1. Awwww…

    My family had one of those for my brother’s room (window, with nothing to jump onto — right to the ground from the 2nd floor), and they’re not a bad idea. I’d suggest against the 5 more smoke detectors though. Then you’d never be able to even shower without setting one off… 😀

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