Somebody cue the theme from ER.

This is a picture of the top of my microwave:

I used to use the top of my microwave as a storage area for all things sharp, fragile, easily lost, or otherwise unsuitable for toddler hands. Nowadays, both the girls are tall enough to take pretty much anything they want from the top of the microwave, so it’s not really such a useful storage area anymore, but I’m a creature of habit, so things still pile up in that area quite often.

The top of the microwave is also the location of our Stuffed Animal Hospital, which is a fully equipped facility, including a state-of-the-art surgical unit, ICU, emergency room, and after-hours clinic. You can see in the picture that we’ve got a patient in the ER at the moment. He’s awaiting sutures from a ruptured (possibly chewed) paw. We’re not sure how it happened exactly, but we do know that he was trapped in my 5-year-old’s bedroom for at least 2 weeks before the injury was discovered. Don’t worry about him, though. He gets daily visitors, and unlike most modern hospitals, the food here really rocks. He’ll be fine.

I suppose you’re wondering why I’m telling you about the little medical facility that sits atop my microwave at all. It’s a valid question. To answer it, I’ve got to digress a bit and tell you about Rest Time.

We have a designated Rest Time every afternoon here at our place. After lunch, and after a little history or science, and after a little extra play time, all three of us go to our rooms to do something by ourselves. My 8-year-old reads sometimes, but more often than not, she still listens to stories on CD because she likes to draw or color at the same time. Or, more recently, she’s started taking “homework” to her rest time. We stumbled into this by accident one day. She was lagging in her math, and I told her she’d have to finish it later, before rest time, and she brightened up and said, “how about during rest time? Like it’s my homework?” Who knew she’d be so into it? So, now I give her a little something to do every day during rest time.

My 5-year-old listens to stories or music and plays. Soon she’ll be reading on her own. And probably requesting homework. To be like her sister. Ah, such is life.

Anyway. Homework during rest time is also useful in that it keeps my 8-year-old from getting restless and Getting Certain Ideas Into Her Head. You know…. THOSE kinds of ideas. The ones that SEEMED LIKE A REALLY GREAT IDEA AT THE TIME. But in retrospect… maybe NOT SO GOOD. What’s that? Your kids haven’t had any ideas like that yet? That’s okay. Give it time. They’ll have at least one. And Good Luck To You On That Merry Day, is all I’m sayin’. And that maybe you might want to clear some space on the top of your microwave. Just in case.

One day not too long ago, during rest time, I was in my office mulling over a poem when I heard my 8-year-old start to cry. She came out of her room and rushed into the bathroom and shut the door. I waited a few minutes, thinking maybe she had… well, you know… waited a bit too long to run for the bathroom. But after a few minutes, instead of coming out again, she was still in there, and now I could hear her saying quietly, over and over again: “oh no… oh no… oh no…”

Yeah. Not good.

I got up and went down the steps, and knocked at the bathroom door. I opened the door and there she was, in tears, bent over the sink, moaning.

“What is it?” I asked her.
“It’s— it’s—well— I was just playing. I didn’t think anything would happen to him!” Then, still crying, she showed me what was in the sink.

She’d been playing with her stuffed animals, and for whatever reason I’ll never understand, she decided to drape one of them over the top of her lamp and leave it there for a while. Then she sort of forgot about it. Until she smelled a funny burning smell, that is.

I picked up the stuffed animal — a little stuffed dog — and then dropped him right back into the sink because his belly was still HOT. Then I began the LECTURE. The LECTURE lasted all the way down the stairs into the kitchen to get some tupperware to put the dog in so I could pour water over him and make sure his fur was OUT. Then the lecture continued all the way back UP the stairs to her room to get the lightbulb that the dog had been resting upon. There was a large tawny spot of MUCK burned into the top of it. That bulb was replaced with a fresh one. And then the LECTURE continued back down the stairs to the kitchen to check on the dog.

“I’M SORRY!!!!!” she wailed. “I’M SO, SO SORRY, MOM!!!” And she was too. I could tell. She GOT it. She understood now, how easy it was to accidentally start a fire. Then, still in tears, she said, “Mom? Do you think we’ll be able to fix him?”

“No, honey. We really can’t.”

And she cried and cried and cried. And even though there wasn’t much we could do, we put him into the hospital anyway. Welcome to the newest wing of our stuffed animal care facility: the STUFFED ANIMAL BURN UNIT:

Have you ever seen a sorrier stuffed animal sight than that? Look at his face. That puppy is hurtin’.

Here’s a close up of the wound itself. We feel it’s important to share these pictures with you, since we are a teaching hospital, after all.

Other than putting him out, and soaking him in cold water, there’s not much we can do for him. He’ll have those scars forever, not to mention an enormous lump of melted plastic that used to be tiny plastic beads. We considered surgically removing the lump, but it’s too large. We don’t want to risk any of his other essential beads.

We’ll just keep him comfortable and hope that he finds a way to live with his disability. We’ve considered starting an organization for him and stuffed animals just like him. In the meantime, we’ve got room for him in the ICU where he’ll begin his recovery process. He’s even got someone to talk to while he’s there.

If this whole post has gone the way of So Irritatingly CUTE That You Want To Scream, don’t worry. Here’s how it ends:

After a while, they’ll refuse to do their physical therapy. All they’ll want to do is sit up on the microwave and compare war stories. Pretty soon, they’ll be sneaking pizza orders and six-packs and showing their scars to anyone who’ll listen. Visitors will start to decline a bit as they become more and more convinced that this whole thing is nothing but a Vile Conspiracy Against Animals With Plastic Bead Stuffing.

Not long after that, I’ll boot them off the microwave because their insurance will have run out and they’ll stagger around the living room for a while or get stuck under a dining room chair. That’s when one of the Barbie dolls will come along and give them a medal, and a book deal, and then they’ll all go on Oprah and live happily ever after.

But at least we got a good fire safety lesson out of it. Chances are good that my 8-year-old will never put anything on top of her lamp ever again.


12 Responses to “Somebody cue the theme from ER.”

  1. 1 Karisma October 29, 2008 at 9:07 am

    LOL! I would not count on that, with such a good hospital available the casualties might increase! Puts me in mind of my dolly, she is as old as me and has a burn mark on her foot from one time when I was little and she was cold! I put her in front of the heater to warm her up! She sports a nice scar on her foot but she is still in lovely condition for nearly 40 years old! Perhaps Teddy could use a nice little shirt to cover up the burn marks?

  2. 2 RegularMom October 29, 2008 at 10:25 am


    You’ve got a point there. I will have to keep my eyes open for more potential burn victims. 🙂

  3. 3 MamaB October 29, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Should you decide to do a “skin graft” – we have a bunch of the plastic beads in a bucket somewhere round here. They are the left overs from our puppet project where we dumped the guts out of thrifted beanies to make hand puppets. 🙂

  4. 4 RegularMom October 29, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    Ooooh… we could do a bead transplant followed by a skin graft. Hmmmm…. Do you think any of this could count for science? A bit of a unit study in stuffed animal anatomy?

    Hey, it could work. 🙂

  5. 5 RegularSis October 29, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Love this post!


  6. 6 melanie October 29, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    Oh man, brought back a lot of memories! Thanks for the evocative post. I still have a small “angel” bear whose wings are stuck together with Great Dane drool and whose head is a little, um, misshapen from the gnawing. The kid is now grown but the memory of the child’s scream of anguish as the happy puppy pounced upon the bear and carried it away in her mouth still ring in my ears. Extricating the bear was easy but very, very drooly. And Dane drool is like The Force: it holds the universe together. :>)

  7. 8 katherine October 29, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Sure it counts as science! Medical students and midwives begin suturing lessons on steak or chicken breasts. A kids gotta start somewhere.

    A dear friend who is 58 had his favorite bear stolen. When returned, he discovered that his aunt had taken the bear and removed his stuffing, washed him, restuffed him, and then sewn band-aids on all his little worn or torn places. Really, very dear.

    And a nice project for a long winters quiet time…

  8. 9 SabrinaT October 29, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    It must be a blast to grow up in your house. Even with the lectures!

  9. 10 Mom #1 October 29, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    OMG RegularMom!

    I have never laughed so hard in my life. I have absolutely nothing witty or clever to add, I’m just laughing my buns off.

    This was an incredible post. I read it to Mom #2 and Baby Boy and we all agree – you win the prize.

    This is the post of the year.

    Oh, Lordy, a teaching hospital. I’m still rubbing tears from my eyes. Hilarious!

  10. 11 RegularMom October 30, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Well, thank you, you guys. You are all so sweet! I’m just glad you’re laughing along with me. Because sometimes, late at night, I worry: what if no one gets this but me?

  11. 12 Robinella November 4, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    On top of the lightbulb…is where I found the missing Darth Vader. My husband and I thought wires were burning in the walls. The plastic had a weird electrical smell.

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