Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Child Impact Index

Back in the day, when I was getting ready to stand at the bus stop on a cold January morning, I remember hearing on the radio that it was 15 degrees below zero, but the wind chill index put the temp down around 40 below. School was not, however, cancelled. This was Nebraska, if they closed schools because kids had to wait in sub-zero temps, no one would go to school for the entire month of January.

Later on, the meteorology cabal came up with the "Heat Index". This was the actual temperature, combined with the humidity to tell you exactly how miserable you would be. In places like Omaha, when the temperature and the humidity are usually the same astronomical number, this is a cruel joke at best. In Ohio, where the weather is milder, such dire warnings are taken with great seriousness. People in Central Ohio are weather weenies. They have to explain the terms Wind Chill Index and Heat Index as "Real Feel", or how cold/hot you "really feel". If your weatherman has to explain how the weather feels, you don't have anything to complain about.

Today, as I scraped deodorant off of a beloved Thomas the Tank Engine wooden train (new and improved! Painted with 99 % less lead!) I came up with a term to explain a child like Buddy.

The Child Impact Index.

This is a measure of how many children it "feels" like you have, when you are dealing with a particular child.

For example: Bug, for all her hysteria, and drama, probably has a Child Impact Index of 1.5. She's fairly easy and compliant, but chooses her battles over the most inane things. The loss of a baby tooth is so traumatic, it takes two adults to extract a tooth hanging by a bit of gristle, and then four hours minimum of reassurances that she will not bleed to death out of the tooth hole.
But she will believe pretty much anything you tell her, and she is good to her little brother.

Buddy, on the other hand, has a CII of 15. You cannot take your eyes, ears or mind off of that boy for a second, or he's teaching the neighbor kids to pee and poop in the backyard. Or washing the dog with foaming hand soap, drawing on the walls with deodorant, or tonight's great adventure: Chemical warfare.

I was trying to get some work done before the sitter arrived. We had curriculum night at school and since we wanted to actually hear what was going on, we chose to leave the kids at home. As I'm keying my work with great speed (and minimal accuracy) I hear this blood curdling scream from Buddy's room.

I run upstairs and see him walking in the hallway, screaming that the "bubbles" burned his eyes.

Bubbles? Why was he washing his hands....voluntarily.....without assistance?

I take him in the bathroom and turn on the water, I smell his hands, they don't smell soapy, they smell like chemicals.

I try to rinse his eyes at the sink, he continues to scream.

I look into his room and see his train table soaked with fluid and some bubbles. A purple bottle of Carpet Cleaner and a bottle of Downey Wrinkle Releaser are on the floor. Further inspection shows that they are both empty.

There are no first aid directions on the Downey bottle ( they should have some instructions, you know some idiot out there will try to remove their own wrinkles and age lines with it) But the carpet cleaner says to rinse the eyes for FIFTEEN minutes. Are they insane?

So I try putting his head under the bath tub faucet, no luck. Now my pants are wet and the phone is ringing and I have twenty minutes to get to school.

Long story short, he is okay, we got to school on time and we now call him Chemical Buddee.

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