Fire alarm

Ah, Peanut. I’m glad we named you something that would go well with either “Supreme Court Justice…” or “Recently Indicted…” because you’re getting to be a bit of a handful.

I was carrying him up the stairs to my mom’s place and he pointed and asked what the fire alarm was. I said, “That’s a no touch. It is for when you really need help, like an emergency, and it rings an alarm at the fire fighter’s stationhouse.” So he reached out and grabbed it. To be fair, it didn’t have a cover, and the little lucite dowel that usually keeps us from accidentally tripping the alarm was missing. Nevertheless, the alarm went off in eight or more condos Sunday just before noon. Thanks, Peanut. Nice way to meet grandma’s neighbors.

People were worried, but we were standing on the porch, reassuring everyone it was a false alarm, and very willingly blaming Peanut. “He did it. We told him not to, but he didn’t listen. We’re so sorry.” Everyone was, I’m sure, just waking up at noon to watch the Olympics and sit in their underwear spooning ice cream into their gaping maws (I assume people, given a day off, are able to do all the things we can’t do now that Peanut is here. Sleep in? Check. Watch t.v.? Check. Eat ice cream? Check. Hang out in either jammies or underwear, willfully defying the social rule that one must dress for the day? Check. Things we have to do under the cover of darkness for the one hour he actually sleeps–that’s what people with real lives do. Nobody else was off volunteering at an animal shelter, or befriending the elderly, or anything. That’s what I’d do if I had a day off. After the ice cream and Olympics and nap. And a little more ice cream. And flip through the channels in case I’m missing anything. THEN volunteering.)

Anyway, it took the fire department 25 minutes, so say the more irritated of Zsa Zsa’s neighbors say, to arrive with their shiny pumper truck. Peanut asked the fire fighter (whom I’ll call Young, Buff, and Gorgeous Number Three, only because there were two before him that got that name. I might have named them something else, had I seen YBaGNThree first). YBaGNThree confirmed that it was a pumper, not a hose wagon, as was Peanut’s second guess. Seriously. Okay, a little more honestly, Peanut asked me if it was a pumper or a hose wagon, and instructed me to ask YBaGNTwo. I was going to, when Three appeared and caught my eye. Instead of asking him if he knew a good attorney and would be willing to wait for me while the divorce paperwork processed, I asked about the truck. Whatever. Can’t believe I know the difference between a rear-mount aerial ladder truck and a snorkel truck, anyway. I mean, it’s pretty obvious, and nobody would confuse the two once they knew, but still. I’m pretty sure that cluster of neurons would be resting right now if it weren’t for my two-year-old’s g..d.. book collection.

So I kept apologizing to the fire fighters, telling them I knew they had better things to attend to, like, for instance, emergencies; and tried not to cry every time they said it was okay. Because the last three times I’ve seen a fire fighter up close, it was an emergency, and they were much less jovial and much less silly, but just as friendly and supportive. I know more than a few police officers who have no special love for fire fighters. I know the reasons abound. But I have had nothing but good experiences with the few fire fighters I’ve met, and I have nothing but gratitude in my tiny little Grinch heart for them.

Anyway, the Older, Buff, and Outrageously Handsome fire fighter (OBOH) praised Peanut for doing a good job. Told him he knew he’d hire him on the spot in 18 years. Gave him a red plastic fire fighter’s helmet, and told him to keep up the good work. Wonderfully nice, totally counter-productive stuff, parenting-wise.

Now we have to pay for the false alarm call, and frequently remind Peanut not to pull fire alarms, all while watching him run through the house naked, fire helmet on, pretending to squirt everything and everyone with anything that seems like a hose. Yes, that means anything—-drum stick, hockey stick, imaginary hose, and little boy parts. The reality that little boys get to have all the fun of a built-in friend is probably half the battle of gender-based differences that show up before those horrible other kids bring their parents’ baggage to kindergarten.

Oh well. At least ours can rouse all those lounging neighbors whenever he feels like it.