One of the many safety devices that Laura begged me to install, was the oven guard. This is one that I snapped to attention and put into place on my first chance.
Why this particular child safety device is so important is it shields the one and a half year old Carter, the inquisitive toddler, one that can now reach to counter height, from burning himself, or setting his favorite stuffed and flammable toy on fire.
This fabulous and over priced piece of smoke colored Plexiglas, with three moveable parts and two pages of installation instructions, adheres to the front of one’s stove. It juts out at a very clever angle, scientifically devised, I am sure, so as to make it possible for the adult to still reach the surface of the stove, while making it impossible for the little one to reach up and be introduced to the inhumanity of human invention.
I followed the instructions as best as my short attention span would allow, and managed to fit the pieces together, and attach them in just the right spot to keep Carter’s little fingers off the deadly burners.
Laura was very pleased with me because I installed this contraption without her having to ask me repeatedly. Other safety devises I have taken my time with. Carter is my fourth child, and with that comes a bit of complacency.
“Did you close the gate?” my lovely Laura will cry out.
“You mean the gate at the bottom of the stairs? You mean the gate that if he sees open, he closes. You mean the gate that is there to keep him from climbing up stairs he has yet to figure out how to climb up. You mean the gate that will, in that quick, unexpected, terrifying moment, keep him from falling UP the stairs? That gate? Yes, I closed it.”
I don’t say any of that, because if he were to choose that moment to become adventurous and crawl up, then topple down, I would be the jerk of the century.
“Yes, I closed the gate. What do you think? Of course I did.” is how I answer.
I was feeling pretty good about my Plexiglas shield, and didn’t mind reaching over it to cook. It stood there proudly for two days as a testimony, a monument, to my manly dexterity, my dominance over implements and instruction.
That was until I preheated the oven. Turns out the adhesive on the three adjustable, clip-on support pieces doesn’t continue to hold onto its assigned location if it is introduced to HEAT!!!
You guessed it. If the “oven,” out of some renegade, uncontrolled, teenage hormone frenzy, decides to go crazy and generate some HEAT, the whole thing falls apart. The thing just fell off. Well, actually it slowly fell limp, dangled, then hit the ground, scaring the poop right out of the dog. Carter got a huge kick out of that.
I am not sure what to do at this point to keep Carter’s fingers off the stove. Well, at least for the first time. The second time I feel will be avoided by the safety mechanism that we installed in Carter upon his conception.
But I am dying to meet up in person with the president of the company that created, produced, marketed and sold a heat shield that works perfectly as long it doesn’t get anywhere near any heat. I think I would just ask him if he had any kids. And, I fear, he would say he did, until they fell up the stairs.