This afternoon I was on my computer, as I often am, while my children played in the dining room. Only Jadzia was within sight, but I could tell that William was only a few feet away from her, chatting merrily in his sing-song voice. Since she started crawling, Jadzia tends to follow her brother around like a loyal henchman. I was feeling quite proud of myself for remembering to close the basement door, when suddenly a bunch of things happened at once:
My computer abruptly shut down.
I heard a loud pop, accompanied by a spark, from underneath the dining room table.
My son began wailing.
I rushed to the dining room and grabbed an histerical William into my arms. The room smelled like burnt plastic.
When William was first born, we went around our condo putting safety outlet covers on all the outlets, anticipating a time when he would be crawling and getting into everything. Our efforts were in vain. He got into everything, except outlets. Apparently they aren't that exciting to an infant. When we moved into our house a year ago we didn't bother. For one thing that's a lot of outlets to replace, way more than we had in our condo. And for another, with all the dangerous appliances, sharp corners, and stairs, we thought the outlet covers were the least of our worries.
Now that William is two-and-a-half, he understands a lot more. And he's observant. Like he's seen me lock and unlock the front door enough times to know that a key is meant to be shoved into a hole.
So now the outlet in the dining room has a tiny explosion of black soot coming out of it, the same soot covers my son's arm, my keys are sticking out of the outlet, and the power is out in the dining room and family room.
My first thought is if my son is okay. As I'm comforting him I check his arm for burns, I wave my hand in front of his eyes to be sure he can still see, and I ask him questions to be sure he can hear me. I think about taking him to a doctor, but he seems completely fine once he calms down.
Next, I yank my keys out of the outlet and hang them up high, then I run downstairs and flick the breaker. Then I grab my son, tell him I love him, and burst into tears. I'd always assumed that sticking something metal into an outlet would cause you to die a horrible death by electrocution. I'm not sure how likely that is, but in my mind my son almost died, and it would've been my fault.