Thursday, November 08, 2007

Styrofoam: Proceed with Caution

After recent talk of BPA in plastics, this probably sounds like another health concerned post. It is not. And although Styrofoam is terrible for the environment, this is not an ecology post either.

This is a toddlers-and-Styrofoam-should-not-mix post.

Around the 3rd hour of a 4 hour car trip, we wanted to reward Ranger with a treat. He's an awesome long-distance car traveler. We've never used a DVD player, VCR, or laptop to entertain him en route, and thus far he seems unscarred by our resistance to in-transit entertainment technology.

The boy is crazy for lemonade (the real lemons, water, and sugar stuff, not the fountain version with high fructose corn syrup). So, as we knew we were approaching a rare purveyor of actual citrus squeezings, we said the L-word aloud. Ranger immediately brightly blurted "JUICE!" in response. This is his word for lemonade. He seems to know that lemonade is not exactly the same as juice, but just loves tweeking his English major mama with poor paraphrase. Ironically, he doesn't like many other fruit juices, so this tends to bite him in the hiney whenever he's out with people who understand juice to be apple or grape.

We drive through the lemonade place and get Ranger a lemonade, Jim a lemonade slush, and me the largest ice cream sundae I've seen in person (they only have one size- mammoth). I am driving, so we have to pull into the parking lot so I can wolf down the legal portion of the dessert.

About two bites into the sundae, Ranger's warbling voice lets out a sad cry "Juuuuuuice! Help, help, help, help." When I turn around, I can see that he's removed his straw from the cup. Jim can reach him more easily, so I ask him to reinstall the straw properly. This should have struck me as odd because Ranger's been manipulating straws forever.

Jim turns around and puts the straw in, but Ranger's crying does not cease nor does he take a drink. Suddenly Jim says "OH NO!" and grabs pulls the drink into the front seat baptizing the borrowed mini-van's leather interior with lemonade.

Ranger managed to pierce the side of the foam cup with his straw. It had since been filling his pants and car seat with sweet, sticky, sugary "juice." Now it had also gotten the front console, 3 additional leather seats, some carpeting, Jim's coat, my bag, and Jim in the process.

It's not fair to blame Jim for bringing the cup forward. Our instincts to save our young- even from cold lemonade in the pants- are very strong- and as Jim was still seatbelted in and holding a lid-less slush in his other hand he had limited options.

When I realize that Jim can't open the door with both hands full, I start laughing. He's unsuccessfully trying to plug the hole with a finger and just getting soaked in the process. I reach across him and open the door- so he holds the spurting cup over the parking lot. Eventually, I think to unsnap his seatbelt and release him from the car.

Ranger is still crying.

We dump the lemonade and do a quick toddler costume change in 40 degree weather. Unlike Jim's pants, the car seat's cover is remarkably water resistant, so it's easy to dry.

From here on out we'll be keeping a small straw cup with a lid in the car to prevent future juice geysers. Consider yourself warned.


Michael Phillips said...

The Styrofoam problem isn't limited to toddlers either. My little sister (18 or 19 now?) Jammed her straw through a Styrofoam cup while I was in the car with her this summer. There was much twitting her as I rescued the driver from her suddenly porous cup.

Anna said...

Oh my gosh, that's hilarious! I just read this to my husband and we were both desperately trying to laugh quietly (instead of our usual uncouth guffaws) since our daughter is already asleep. I consider myself fairly warned.