Why do they even have that lever?

03/26/2008 By Shawn Burns

Erin and I went to the park today. She played on the grass; I played on the grass. She crawled around in woodchips; I crawled around in woodchips. She swung on a swing; I swung on a swing.

It was fun, but a little tiring. When we came home I put her down to crawl around in the living room. She crawled a little, and then started to practice her tantrums.

Well, they look like mini-tantrums (face bouncing off the floor, legs kicking the ground, fists pounding the carpet), but she’s actually laughing the entire time. She’ll throw a mini-fit, then look up at me to smile and laugh. It’s very cute. For now.

She eventually made her way over to the patio door. I had opened the sliding glass door to air out the apartment while we were gone (and to cool it down; it gets very hot in here in the afternoon), and she crawled over to play with the vertical blinds (7 down, 20 to go on her “tear all the blinds off” mission) and to bounce off the screen. Soon she was on the floor again, throwing a mini-fit and laughing while she stretched out against the screen door facing the end of the sliding glass door.

And then she started to sound upset. I kept looking at her to see if she was ok, and she just seemed to be lying there, perhaps annoyed that the vertical blinds kept getting between me and her in her line of sight. But I got up and went over to her, and I moved the blinds out of the way and bent over to pick her up. And as I was pulling her up off the floor I finally figured out what was pissing her off.

Her finger was stuck. In this:

This hole in the end of the sliding glass door is just big enough for my daughter’s index finger to fit into, and just small enough that it will close tightly around her skin when she tries to pull it out. I was already lifting her off the ground when I saw this, but thankfully I hadn’t grabbed her to hurl her up into the air from the floor! I…I feel a little ill thinking about that.

We’ve done some child-proofing around the apartment. But honestly, it never even occured to me that there was anything potentially dangerous on the inside edge of the sliding glass door. And I can’t really understand what that hole is doing there anyway. There is nothing on the frame that uses the hole for anything:

So, I sit here now while my daughter naps, horrifying visions flashing through my head, and all I can think to do is rail against the patio door manufacturer. Because I can’t permit myself to think that I’ve done something wrong. Of course not. I’m a good parent. I don’t neglect my daughter.

I could have…what?…I could have….no…I could…and it would have been my fault and I can’t stare directly into that darkness.

So. Damn you, patio door company. Today I’m a shitty parent, but, come on; what is that hole for?