I was making a special candy dessert with my daughter, just 4 years old at the time. I didn’t even want to make the recipe, but Lauren begged me to. Given my frustration in the kitchen with this unfamiliar and challenging method, it’s no surprise that my daughter quickly lost interest in cooking with mommy and went to play.
Impatient with a lengthy step in the cooking process, I decided to let the mixture simmer for a bit, thinking my frustration could also simmer down, and I went down the hall to my home office. I got to checking emails and voicemail, nothing of importance, and I just forgot about the sweet mixture simmering on the stovetop. Sometime later at my desk, I heard a sharp whistle. No, it was more like a beep. The beeps came in rapid succession. With a 4-year old and a 1-year old, I dismissed the sound as something coming from one of the kids’ toys. I hit send on the email I was typing and then opened AOL to read some news.
Just as my email sent, my daughter walked into my office, still wearing her lavender princess dress and bejeweled crown from dress-up earlier. She didn’t look like a princess though. She seemed Much Afraid, staring at me with big frightened eyes. “What’s wrong Lauren?” Her prominent eyes didn’t blink. She didn’t speak. There’s that beeping noise again… Oh ho! That’s the smoke alarm, I realized. I ran into the hall, and it was filled with smoke! Through the smoke, I dashed to my kitchen and… it was on fire. My kitchen was on fire!