Allow me a moment to educate you on the dangers of combining breast and bottle feeding.
Michael had his six month visit today at the pediatrician. Among other things we discussed how I needed to move on from the "slow flow" nipples we're using for the two bottles a day he is required to have. When Michael was first born and learning to eat he had all kinds of choking problems. We don't really have those issues any more, but I've still been reluctant to switch to the faster flowing nipples. Anyway we stopped and bought some on the way home from the doctor's office.
So we got home and Michael had fallen asleep in his car seat. I brought him in, left him in his seat, and put the new nipples in a pot with some water to boil them for five minutes as you are supposed to do to sterilize them. Normally when I do this I stand in the kitchen until the water boils and then set the timer on the microwave for five minutes. For some reason today, I failed to set the timer. Then Michael woke up, screaming to be fed, and it was during a point in the day when he usually nurses. So I took him into the living room to feed him, totally forgetting about the stove. Do you see where this is going?
Harper and Michael and I were in the living room when, several minutes (fifteen maybe?) later, I heard a funny noise in the kitchen and sent Harper to see what Rebound was doing. She walked out of the living room and then walked right back in and said, "I think something is not good, there's stuff coming out of the pot!" I thought she meant the water was boiling over, so I got out of the chair where I'd been nursing Michael and walked with him into the kitchen. Into the kitchen where I saw a pot full of FLAMING NIPPLE REMAINS! (Oh my, Google's gonna have a field day with that sentence.)
It's amazing how many clear thoughts you can have in a very short amount of time. Fortunately I tend not to get upset/panic until a dangerous/scary situation has already been dealt with. As I looked at the flaming pot I remember thinking I had to put Michael down before I could pick it up, thinking that I had to remove it from the heat, thinking that the fire extinguisher in the garage was a little too far away, and thinking that it was grease fires that you weren't supposed to throw water on. . . I am pretty sure I managed to tell Harper that things would be fine, while refraining from swearing, and sliding Michael into the exersaucer. Then I turned the burner off as I moved the pot toward the back of the stove, realized that wasn't going to stop the already burning fire (duh!) and picked the pot up, put it in the sink and ran water over it until the flames went out completely.
Michael was drooling cluelessly in the exersaucer, Harper's eyes were wide with fear, and I found myself wondering, as the kitchen filled with smoke, why the heck our smoke detector wasn't going off. When I broil pork chops it goes off every time, but for an actual fire, nothing? I think we may be replacing that soon.
There was a huge and surprising amount of smoke created when I put out the fire. I turned on the fan and opened the door to try to clear out the house. I wasn't sure what to do after that and called my mom to see if she thought any further action was necessary. She didn't think so and Matt walked in as I was talking to her, asking what happened, and Harper started telling him there was a fire so I pretty much hung up on my mom to go explain to Matt. Oops. Sorry Mom!
After an hour or so the smoke had cleared, the ruined nipples and pot had been thrown away, and the ashes had been cleaned out of the sink. Not that I hadn't respected what a fire could do before today, but I was pretty stunned by the smoke and smell and mess created by this one, relatively minor, fire.
Thank God the fire was contained to that one pot. I can't recall ever having an experience like this before and I'll tell you even a small fire is a scary one. My stomach is still knotting up a bit just thinking about it.
So today's lessons are:
1) Don't leave stuff unattended on the stove. (Although I'm pretty sure I'm the only one in the universe to have lapsed on that safety rule.)
2) Don't forget to set your timers.
3) It might be a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher somewhere in the kitchen.
4) Check smoke detectors more regularly.
5) Always set the baby down before handling a pot of flamming nipple remains. (I did remember to do that, but feel like it bears repeating.)
Thank you and good night.