Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Case of the Missing Laptop Key

I'm sure you're well aware, as I should be, that laptops & small children don't mix well. The thing is, we don't have a TV, so our only source of video or movie entertainment is our laptop. It generally sits on a small adjustable laptop table in the living room, where Linnaeus has mostly ignored it (except when he wants to watch "Click Clack Moo" for the umpteenth time) for years.

Lately, however, both children have taken to popping the keys off when I'm not looking. When Linnaeus does this, it's annoying, because he likes to completely disassemble the keys. When Bronte does this, it's nerve-wracking, because of her penchant for eating everything she gets her hands on.

I decided the solution for this is to put the laptop out of reach when it's not in use, with an adult right there. I thought an Ikea Lack wall shelf would do the trick & sourced a 6' one for free on Craigslist. I hauled it home on the bike (photo evidence here). Then it sat in a corner, waiting to be mounted to the wall.

Why are these so easy to pull off?!?
A few days later, I came into the living room--I forget what I was doing--to find three keys ripped off the laptop & a certain ten-month-old looking pretty pleased with herself. Sigh. One of the keys was all in one piece & I popped it back on again without too much trouble. One was in four pieces, so I put it out of both kids' reach to reassemble later. Now where was the third one?

I looked under the laptop, on the floor, in Linnaeus' pockets, down Bronte's loose romper, in the couch cushions, under all the furniture in the living room... I think I did at least two mouth sweeps, vainly hoping Bronte had been keeping the key in her cheek like a baseball player with his chaw. Nowhere to be seen.

I started to panic. I freaked out just a little & started to wonder if we should take her to Children's Hospital. Plastic doesn't show up on X-rays, does it? I thought through how the key might go through her tiny little digestive tract. I Googled. I learned what signs to look for that the object is stuck in the child's throat. Nope. That didn't seem to be the case. I Googled some more. According to one source I found, anything under 18mm wide will probably pass through just fine. I Googled again, reading message boards of parents whose children had swallowed all kinds of things. Apparently I might have to wait for 4-5 days to see the laptop key after its big journey.

I told Oliver of my findings & we grimly agreed to carefully inspect every poopy diaper for the tiny, square black key. The second or third day into this assignment (I can't remember exactly, I think I'm repressing it), the kids were in the tub. Linnaeus was having a meltdown & required extra attention for a minute or two. Once he was out & drying off, we turned our attention back to Bronte. Oh dear. Code brown! In my haste to minimize the poop I'd have to scoop out of the bathtub, I grabbed her  & held her over the toilet. I've tried this before & she hated it, but this time she just sat there happily & finished off her poop. I was quite pleased that she'd actually used the toilet & I'd have one less dirty diaper to deal with. Then I realized... we still needed to look for that damn arrow key!

Oliver gallantly offered to look, but I gritted my teeth & plunged my hand into the toilet. Shudder. My sense of humour was still intact, however, & I was laughing about it immediately (while scrubbing my hands like Lady MacBeth). The things we do for our kids, hey?

The next day when the kids were both occupied, I decided to reassemble that key & put it back on the laptop. After much fiddling, it was back on & working fine. When checking that the arrow keys were on right, I noticed that the SHIFT key was a bit stiff. I pried a corner of it up & guess what I found?

Sigh. That instant, I got out the drill, tape measure, level & screws & marked off with tape the place where the wall shelf was going to go. I installed it in under half an hour & now the laptop sits up there, far out of reach of Bronte. Well, at least for a while. Thankfully, she's kinda short.

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  1. So glad all worked out (!) well in the end, but I am laughing my head off here.

  2. Try one of these. We had the same issue at my sister's house.

  3. you can simply buy the laptop keys if they fall off again at, btw funny story.


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