Are you listening?
If I told you to imagine the coming scenario, you probably couldn’t. It’s one of those things that you had to be there to believe it. You know what I mean. It’s about one of those times where everything that could go wrong, went wrong?
Before I had my son — when my two daughters were very small I was a stay-at-home mom. I babysat two other little girls that were the same age as my two. Each day I would have two 2-year-olds and two 3-year-olds. They got along well, the hard part was timing naps. There was always at least one who had to be contrary, which was the case the day of the gas can.
My youngest fell asleep about 40 minutes before the others. By time I got the others down in another room I came out to discover my front door open. I panicked. It never occurred to me that someone may have come in. I was sure it was the other way around — so much so that I didn’t waste any time checking the other bedroom and instead dashed outside praying my 2-year-old hadn’t gotten out of the fence.
We had a small yard. I saw her immediately and my heart began to pound. She was standing off to the side holding a big red plastic gas can. I ran to her and picked her up asking over and over if she drank it. her response was to wave her mouth with her hand repeating the words,
“Ish hot mommy ish hot. Hot…hot…mommeeeee…hot”"
I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t have a house phone and this was long before cell phones. I didn’t know if I could give her water to rinse her mouth out or what.
I ran back into the house to make sure the other three were still asleep. They were.
We lived in a “back house’ meaning there was a “front house” on the property. It belonged to my landlords. I carried my daughter to their back door. She was still saying,
“Ish hot mommy ish hot. Hot…hot…mommeeeee…hot”
I knocked on the landlords door. While I was standing there I noticed a strange car in the drive-way, but no one answered the door.
“Shit!” <– that was me.
I ran back through my yard and out the back gate into the alley. I had another neighbor. I’d never spoken to them, they were druggie types with a lot of junk and traffic throughout their yard. I didn’t care. My daughter was still fanning her mouth and she looked sleepy. I was scared.
I got to their gate, but their pit-bulls were loose and barking like crazy. I was too afraid to open the gate let alone try to walk through it. I yelled for the people. I saw someone peek out from behind a curtain. I yelled louder say it was an “emergency” to “please help me“.
Finally the front door opened. An oily headed guy stood there gruffly asking what I wanted. I explained my baby drank gasoline and that I needed to call poison control or an ambulance. I explained I had three more toddlers asleep in the house. I asked if he could bring the phone out so I could keep an eye on my yard in case the kids woke-up and wandered out. He said, “no“. I asked if he would keep his eye on the yard while I came in and used the phone, again he said, “no” this time adding he “didn’t want to be responsible“.
“Are you kidding me? What if she dies?” I screamed back before I jogged away with my kid.
I jogged around the front of the block and was again at my landlords. I noticed the strange car again. I went to the front door this time and pounded on it hard. Finally the door opened. A woman I had never seen or met slowly opened the door. She was clutching her chest and said,
“Oh thank goodness you’re here. Call 911! I think I’m having a heart attack!”
I went inside and grabbed the phone dialing 911. The operator answered and asked me to state my emergency and I blurted out,
“um well I have two!!!”
Needless to say both ended up being OK. When it was all over I completely lost it. I was great while it was going on, but after. No ma’am.
I did find out that the woman having a heart attack was my landlords Mother visiting from out of town. Fortunately my other daughter and the two other little girls I was watching slept through the entire thing.