The Toddler Mystery Files: The Case of the Bloody Knife

Time to throw on the detective cap and enter the mind of a three foot tall little deviant I call my oldest daughter.The toddler times are a very interesting progression in a child’s life; not only are they curious, ornery little raccoons looking to exhaust every last corner of life but they are also clumsy, aloof little beings that have trouble just navigating a sidewalk correctly. This is the awkward combination that results in bumps, bruises, and…if we’re being honest…smothered giggles of amusement for mom and dad.  It’s not all fun and games however, as the little ankle biters can occasionally cross the boundaries into serious danger.  Join me as we replay an especially troubling toddler tactic that surfaced at our house this past week.

Exhibit A: An untouched knife block.  Note how responsible we are as parents by putting the sharp ends into the block…

We begin our journey with an ordinary knife block.  The block contains several different types of knives, of various lengths, designs, and sharpness.  We have our “open the pack of bacon knife”, our “cut tags off our clothes knife”, our “emergency wine cork remover knife”, and even our “eat Taco Bell like rich people” knives. Supposedly some of them can even do things like cut and dice vegetables; who knew?  But I digress; a few days my wife grabbed one of the knives to do knife things with it and this is what she found:

Clearly a massacre has occurred.

If you’re wondering, yes, that is a bloody knife that was put away with no cleaning.  How could this come to pass?  Did my wife suspect her husband of a secret double life as a hitman?  Was she worried that perhaps she sleep walked a knife into one of her bitter enemies (like Peppa Pig or Caillou)?  Not at all.  When there’s a toddler in the house, all suspect activity immediately gets directed in one direction. We had a hunch Eliza was to blame, but it just wasn’t adding up.  She’s never touched a knife before.  She’s three feet tall and in no way can reach the knife block.  And she’s just never seemed like the sort of person that would stab someone or something and not have the decency to wipe the blade.  Something was amiss, and the case of The Bloody Knife was on.  Well, for about a nanosecond until my wife identified the red smudges as merely marker drawings.  So the case of The Colored On Knife was on!

The bathroom step stool (cue dramatic music)

This is Eliza’s step stool, sitting at the base of the sink where she washes her hands and brushes her teeth each day.  Sure, it looks innocent, but the wrong tool in the wrong hands can have disastrous consequences.  My wife and I, for the last two weeks, have been noticing some peculiar placements of this stool that we’ve never seen before:

These are not framed photographs either (and yes, I’m willing to take a polygraph).  We have the stool finding its way next to the piano, next to Daddy’s bed, and on the opposite side of the kitchen counter.  The real head scratcher (at least for us parents that are simultaneously dealing with sleep deprivation at the hands of an infant) is that we never witnessed Eliza moving the stool, or even using it.  We would simply find it in a new location whenever we weren’t looking.

So where do we go from here?  We have a toddler.  We have a bloody knife (red marker, but whatever). We have a disappearing step stool.  The pieces are starting to come together…but WAIT!  Even with the step stool, the toddler STILL can’t reach the knife block; something remains amiss.  How would Eliza reach the knife and how would she also return it to the correct slot?  The girl can’t manage putting her potty in the toilet and velcro shoes still give her problems…I’m not seeing how she would manage getting a knife returned to the block without an utter catastrophe.

There’s one item we’re missing, and yet it’s been there all along…How would a two year-old manage to procure a knife out of reach, color on it (or stab something), and then return it back to a tightly measured wooden pocket without issue (that she still can’t reach)?  The answer was right in front of us the entire time: parental neglect.  It appears our parenting award just might be placed on hold as we probably need to put ourselves in timeout.

This is, unfortunately, a 100% true story.  Our best theory at this point is that we left the knife on the counter, Eliza used her step stool and found something shiny to color on, and then one of us absentmindedly returned it to the block without looking.  Not the finest parenting moment in our lives!  It’s funny how these little humans learn and develop with an insatiable curiosity for all things trouble.  We have once again elevated our guard, as we make the 17th babyproof pass through the house, only we don’t have a baby, we have a 30 pound pooping gorilla attracted to all the things she can’t have.

Case Solved.  And we didn’t even have to come up with a fake alibi to cover for Eliza’s bloody knife.  Win-win.


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