My child the problem solver

Yesterday afternoon I was changing Lily’s nappy and it was a complicated affair as it sometimes can be. I could hear Amelia down in the playroom thumping around, tipping toys out of boxes and so on, as she does. I called down to her to ask what she was up to.
“I’m pretending to be Bob the Builder!” she replied. That sounded harmless enough so I kept changing Lily. And then just as I finished I had to start over, as you sometimes need to do.

Finally she was all done so I took her back the the lounge room and put her on the mat and watched her start to roll and roll and I started to put some cups in the dishwasher.

And then Amelia called “Mum, I need some help!”. There was no panic in her voice what-so-ever, but for some reason I felt a sudden desperate lurch, probably remembering that I had meant to check on her Bob the Builder antics as soon as I was free, and I ran down the hall to the playroom.

For a moment I couldn’t locate her in all the mess…

“Where are you?” I bleated a little stupidly.

“Here!” and I turned to see her in the corner near the bookcase, looking like this:

In fact, I have drawn the whole structure to look much more solid than it actually was. It was literally teetering.

“Can you help me reach the paints?” She asked. She was trying to get the pots of paint down from the very top of the highest (2 metre) bookcase and when I saw that she had some of the pots already on the floor and had already started to paint various surfaces I realised she had been climbing up and down this stack for some time. ARGGH!

After lifting her down to safety, I looked around and in the mess I saw other smaller teetering structures which had obviously been tried and failed attempts at getting high enough before finally settling on her Tower of Doom. One consisted of her small kid’s table, a stool, a doll’s mattress and a plastic basket which looked far scarier than any other. I spent the rest of yesterday afternoon in a state of mild shock at what could have been. I spent a lot of time pondering how you can have a playroom which has no boxes, chairs, benches, stools, tables, paint, bookcases or stackable items of any nature and instead has close-circuit video cameras, alarms and maybe some… ummm… cushions to play with. FAR better.

51 Responses to “My child the problem solver”


    I left Angus, my 21 month old son, with my husband on Saturday. He assumed that because Angus was being quiet he was OK. Then Angus wandered out saying “Dad…hot…HOT” My husband wandered in to see what was “hot” and found that Angus had taken the step stool out of the bathroom (damn those featherweight IKEA stools!) and pulled it up to the stove, turned all the hotplates on. They were smoking when my husband got there. My husband now knows that quiet probably means up to no good.


    Don’t you love those moments? When your heart is in your mouth for such a long time, trying not to think about what could have happened. I tend to find myself speaking very quietly just in case everything/the child falls down like an avalanch. And trying not to get excited about it because that just encourages a 4yo and 7yo to find out what really freaks mum out.Check out Catherine Jinks’ ‘Shh! The Baby is Sleeping’ (or somesuch) because it describes all those ‘quiet’ games kids come up with that aren’t quiet or gentle at all.


    This sort of stuff makes your heart leap ey? At least she’s ok and hopefully it won’t happen again. On the bright side, she obviously had good problem solving skills!


    hehe LOL, that is the funniest most entertaining read that i’ve had in a while! I mean, I know it could have had disastrous consequences, but ..*giggle* I can’t help it, that was hilarious 🙂


    When you are able to put your heart back in your chest, you will be able to see how lovely and amazing little miss Amelia is. It will probably take a while, though. I imagine the thumping from your overworked organ is difficult to hear over.
    But oh what a story …


    Amelia is such a clever little girl, and so brave to climb that Tower of Doom! I’m pleased she’s safe and I hope she doesn’t play real life Lego anymore. On an off topic note, Claire have you had a chance to see Miss Potter? I thought about you so much while watching the movie! The talent and the ability to touch us with such sweet drawnings…


    I’m sitting here just chuckling in sympathy – my child did something very similar when she was 3 (now she’s a wise old 4-1/2). I remember the panic when I realized that she was near the ceiling. I feel your pain. Luckily, we’ve had no broken bones. Yet.
    I’d suggest gym mats on the floor. That’s what I plan to do.


    I have to say, I di laugh when I saw the picture. I wasnt ecpecting that! I know at the time it was not funny. My kids have done things like that to me.


    you know when its really terrible??
    When the 2 of them are doing it together..several heart attacks daily!

    I found one of mine on top of the fridge once

    and the same child at 3 climbed the 6ft fence and was running down the rode till i realized OMG THATS my child..Its all so funny now ,but at the time my knees went wreak from fear..


    All’s well that ends well..that’s my motto! We’re on a first name basis with Bob around here, but thankfully no building of structures, yet.Our episodes usually involve a call to poison control.
    That sketch is adorable.



    Oh my gosh! I can’t believe it! Well, I can, but I don’t want to. I had to go find my husband and read it to him and then we laughed, because no one got hurt.


    Gosh, I had a heart lurch moment today too when a car nearly plundered into me and the two kids while we were walking across a pedestrian crossing. Glad we’re all safe and well and I’m counting my blessings, like you!


    but the best part is that they always seem to be able to do it all in 5 minutes or less. you think you have time to change a diaper but no. they have some sort of time freezing secret that they never tell you about.


    I’ve been there more times than I can even remember (or care to remember)…let’s just say, I’m glad my house is small and I can get to places fast! Our recent discovery was a hair cutting job (was safe for some time, but apparently, scissors are popular again…) and we had to trim back 4 inches to even out. Ugh! Just when you think things are safe…not quite. Then there was the toys placed in the oven only discovered after I started the thing and smoke came pouring out. scary times…


    i had the same heart in mouth feeling the day that we moved into our new house with the kids bedrooms up on the 3rd floor. I walked into Brooke’s bedroom to find her (4 years old) sitting on her windowsill with her feet out the open window looking at the trees in the forest. I walked over to her so slowly not wanting to scream and make her fall out, grabbed hold of her, put her down on the floor, locked the windows shut and they have stayed that way ever since. Seeing Amelia all the way up there must have made you feel similar, wanting to shout in horror but not wanting to scare her into falling off. Bless her, its amazing how quiet they can be whilst causing such chaos isn’t it?


    We’ve had our fair share of Towers of Doom and climbing up eight foot tall entertainment centers, etc. with our two little boys. With a little girl on the way I’m thinking it won’t get much better! Just one more conspirator to add to the mix.


    OMGosh! I cannot help but laugh my butt off over this. Your child is very construtive (SP?) and ingenious! Padded floor is ideal. I remember doing this as a child. We had lots of baby fat to cushion our falls.


    that would scare the bejeebus out of me! I just had an incident in november with my little boy that sent him to the emergency room with a concussion because dad missed him get up onto and fall off the COUNTER TOP onto our wood floor. Scary scary stuff, I can definitely relate to wanting to cover everything in nerf. I’m glad she wasn’t hurt 😀


    Oh dear! Sounds like something I would have done as a child…I don’t have any children yet, but I have moments like these all the time as a dance teacher. Just the other day I had a poor girl leap right into the side of a grand piano. Smacked herself right in the face, I thought I was going to have a heart attack right then and there! Luckily she was okay – a little skinned chin and a little blood on her lower teeth, but no wiggly teeth – thank goodness!


    Oh, I’m so sorry for laughing, but your light tone leads me to believe that you’re over any overwhelming fright. I know that once my little one starts doing things like this I’ll be in a perpetual state of anxiety, but you really have to stand back and chuckle, don’t you?


    Oh good gracious! I have SO been there!!! Daily!!! Lol!
    My daughter has the same name and has pretended to be Bob many times in recent months. It is when she is “Boots” I worry most. We have some excellently terrifying structures to climb! ACK! Just the thought!!

    Adorable drawing, despite the reminder of the “what ifs”. LOL!

    Great blog!!


    Hi! I’ve been a long time fan and lurker, but I just had to comment– that is one of the funniest drawings I’ve ever seen!!! (Of course I wouldn’t have thought that if your daughter did not walk away safely, but still…)


    It wouldn’t let me post this under the eyebrow post! So it’s here…
    This is not a lie. Once when the man (‘Chops’) was working from home, he kept rubbing his eye furiously. “What’s wrong?” I enquired. “There’s something hanging in my EYE!” he fumed. It was very long eyebrow. Still attached to the mother eyebrow, but facing the wrong way. I think he will look like John Howard in no time. I am scared.


    Amelia was always going to be fine (or so she thought). The composition of kevlar and fibreglass that makes up 90% of a childs body will take the blow. It’s the 10% porcelain inside that you need to watch out for! What a hoot.


    what an adventurer you have. she will grow up bold and imaginative with the ability to solve problems on her own. so well done you for having a calm reaction and not freaking out where she could see that risks were not worth taking. everyday is a challenge. my little treasure is 21. she still manages to do those ‘heart in mouth’ moments – but … they are a bit different!take care


    I agree with everyone above! what an amazingly inventive idea, and to get the tention just right with the chairs is an amazing feat of engineering! My son just had a talk at school by one of the ‘dads’ who builds bridges, I am sure both my son and the dad would be suitably impressed with your daughters prowess!But, yes, it must have scared you half to death! Glad everything is ok.
    Caroline xxx


    Hi! I visit your blog quite regularely and apart from being a great writer I think you are a very talented artist. When reading about your new wardrobe I couldn’t stop myself from smiling. We bought the same wardrobe for our little girl’s room only a few weeks ago. I recently posted some pictures at Flickr if you are interested ( All the best from Helena in Sweden 🙂


    this post was the first time i’ve ever been to your blog–i was laughing sooo hard, but of course recognized how scary it must have been.i had to call me sister-in-law and send her your way. she has four kids, and when the twins were born, she had 4 under the age of four–so she REALLY appreciates a good ‘tower of doom’ story.
    she doesn’t know how to comment, though. so, i thought i’d say thanks for sharing for her.

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