I read something once about toddlers not yet grasping spatial relationships, which explains why my son often attempted to fit his body inside of something the size of a coffee can. But as they grow older, I think kids damn well know where they can and can't fit their bodies, and just like to get things stuck places purely for the thrill of freaking out their parents.
Like today, for example. I take my kids to a friend's house for a playdate with a few other moms. Things are going well, my son Rollie is getting along perfectly fine with the other kids, and my daughter Elsa is being her usual, smily, easy-going self. No one is screaming, hurting anyone or getting into anything they shouldn't be.
That is until my son emerges from another room holding a toy. He quietly weaves his way through the other kids and stands beside me, still holding the toy. Only upon closer inspection I realize that he isn't holding the toy; his arm is stuck inside of it.
The toy is one of those plastic jobbies with an internal fan that blows colorful balls into the air. The balls land inside a little funnel that sends them through a tube and down to the bottom, where they are blown through another tube and out the top. Rollie doesn't have one himself and is enamored with them...he's pretty much enamored with anything having to do with balls and tubes (let's let Freud dissect that little fixation another time).
So anyway, part of the plastic on the toy is see-through, and sure enough, his little hand is shoved way down in the tube, all squished against the plastic like a biology class experiment. The toy is on him almost up to his armpit, and he can't get it off.
"Momma, help me," is his plea.
All of our maternal instincts kick on in an instant. One of my friends rushes to the kitchen for liquid soap, another dashes off for a screwdriver to disassemble the toy, yet another tries to comfort both my son, who has realized the pickle he's gotten himself into and is starting to panic, and her twin girls, who are in love with Rollie and are vocally commiserating with his plight. I myself am trying not to laugh--my son looks like an amputee who's got a prosthetic arm in the shape of a brightly colored ball-shooter.
We usher Rollie into the kitchen and proceed to lube up his arm with soap and water, while holding our breath for my screw-driver-wielding friend to free the trapped limb. It doesn't take long--maybe five minutes--during which I imagine having to call the fire department and five strapping, handsome firemen burst into the house and cut Rollie loose with the Jaws of Life.
Thankfully, the soap, water and screwdriver work, and Rollie's arm escapes with barely a scratch. And when I ask him what he's learned from this, he replies, as only a two-year-old would, "I want some goldfish."
And so, I've had my first experience with my child sticking something where he shouldn't with minimal damage. But he's only two. I'm sure it'll only get worse. Which is why I will make sure to always have liquid soap and a screwdriver on hand. Or at least know how to contact the nearest fire department.