The Plastic Menace: Danger on the Living Room Floor

It’s 10 PM, on a mid-week night.  You got up early to try to put the finishing touches on the presentation you had to give today, worked a full-time day, made and served dinner, then cleaned it up and washed the dishes. You’ve finally gotten all the kids into bed after a long bout of drama over who gets to brush their teeth first, who’s the first one to get good night kisses in their bed, “not THAT pair of pajamas,” “can you please close your eyes so we can say prayer,” and “but I didn’t HAVE to go potty when I was brushing my teeth.” 

Finally.  Bed is calling you.  The lights are off.  Your eyes are already heavy and partially closing on you.  You yawn as you walk down the hallway.  And…

…it happens.  The toy you didn’t see.  It literally jumped out in front of you, in exactly the right place.  It KNEW you were going to step there.  That insta-rage-tearing-eyes-yell-while-your-foot-throbs-and-you-have-to-jump-on-the-other-foot pain.

Tell me, which toy is worse?  The LEGO project your kids left half-built with corners sticking out at all angles, or the hot wheels car that looks like it’s smooth in all of it’s aero-dynamic realism, but has the sharpest corners at the same time?

You know what I’m talking about.  Having raised three boys, I’m no stranger to the phenomenon.  Oddly enough, while most toys seem to get squishier and rounder, as well as bigger, and well - safer, these menaces who designed the booby-trapping hard plastic and metal objects must have premeditated the pain and suffering.  Like, sat at their computers designing them in space-age 3D CAD programs spinning them in full 360º just to see which direction is going to hurt the most when they’re stepped on in the dark.

I can imagine how, in a kids-cartoon-movie-way, the evil engineers built prototypes of the final designs and a foot with sensors all over the bottom, measuring the pain on a bright, colorful carnival-strength-tester gauge.  They sit in a lab with high stools and tall black work tables.  Wires and gauges hang everywhere and big metal-box machines with tiny buttons lining the perimeter.

“Hey Boss, take a look at this one.”

“Show me.”

The engineer in safety glasses places the toy prototype on the stainless steel testing platform, and sets the sensor-laden-foot at the ready.  (Camera zooms in for dramatic effect.)  Engineer releases the spring-loaded contraption.

DINNNNGGGGG!  We have a winner!

Boss and Engineer each clasp their hands together and cackle with peals of evil laughter.

(Camera zooms out and fades to black.)


Yes, yes, I know, this isn’t REALLY what happens.  

Simple solution?  Clean up ALL the toys every single day.  That’s so much easier said than done.  We generally DO clean up all the toys every single day, and yet, there’s a time-gap between dinner and bedtime when they seem to reappear.  

Other solution?  Don’t walk in the dark.  Ooh ooh!  Yes, what about those timed switches with motion sensors on them?  Then you’d never have to worry about the light being left on. 

Meh, too much work.  Who’s going to swap them all?

I guess we could always just look down the whole time we’re walking ourselves to bed.  Or invest in nightlights.  But it’s so much work to keep them all plugged in, away from little hands exploring the world, and all the bulbs replaced.  

So, I apologize, I don’t have a good solution.  I wish I did.  But hey, we can’t always have the right answer.  We should definitely have a pow-wow and come up with something.  On the bright side, we can congratulate ourselves on all of the nights we don’t step on the bricks and cars.

Of course, each night after we have successfully navigated the hallway and childrens’ rooms, we still have to make it through the living room, where the half-chewed Nylabone landmines left by the dogs lie in waiting. 

“Kick me…kick me…stomp on me!” They whisper.  Honestly, it might be better to step on a cheese grater than those stinkin’ things.

And if you’re my husband, every table becomes an obstacle with legs stretched at odd angles to grab pinky toes.

It sure is a dangerous world, my friends.  








Jessica Hansen is a success coach living in Oregon. She believes that growth is a natural part of life, and works specifically with mompreneurs to help them self-actualize, and to help their businesses sparkle from the inside out. You can see more about her work here













Photo courtesy of Michal Kulesza via Stocksnap.