My Kid Flooded Our Home. What’s the Worst (Most Expensive) Mistake Your Kids Have Made?

by Darwin on October 4, 2011

I love being a dad, I really do.  But sometimes my kids do things that, well, test me.  Last night I received a frantic call from my wife that water was pouring through the ceiling, soaking multiple rooms going all the way down to the basement.  By the time I got home, I found pools of water in the dining room, a constant stream of water running down our chandelier, an entire section of carpeting soaked upstairs and water making its way all the down to the basement.  It was quite a site.  Here’s what happened:

The Thousand Dollar Hermit Crab

Evidently, my 7yo was playing around with his hermit crab, cleaning him off in the upstairs sink or something.  The kids are always screwing around with closing the drain in the sinks and I’m always telling them to knock it off.  Well, this time, I guess he got distracted, walked away, and left the water running with the drain closed.  So, you know that little hole thingy on the front side of the sink to drain water away when that happens?  Yeah, that doesn’t work.  So, about an hour later, my wife was in the kitchen cooking away and heard some strange noises in the dining room.  That would be the water pouring through the ceiling.  Queue the frantic phone call.

Sometimes, It’s Not What You Do, But How You Handle It

I have to say, for all the yelling and screaming and freaking out, my son handled it pretty well.  He fessed up immediately, apologized and helped us clean up and dry things off all night.  It was an honest mistake.  By the time I got home, he already felt terrible and I didn’t think it would be appropriate to hammer him more.  I just put him to work and we talked about it later.

Because we reacted quickly – I cut out a bunch of drywall and punched holes in the ceiling where I could see watermarks, set up 2 dehumidifiers and used a wetvac to get rid of as much water as I could – I don’t anticipate more than several hundred dollars in damage.  If we were gone when it happened, it could have been much worse.

My wife was calling it a catastrophe.  I consider it a life experience for him – in accepting responsibility, how to atone for a mistake, and finally, why kids need to listen to their parents about screwing around with water!

Anyway, it could have been much worse and I can think of many things I know other kids have done that ended up costing their parents more.  For instance, one friend had his kid throw the Wii remote through a new plasma TV the same week they bought it.  Another kid stole their parents’ car and crashed it.  I can only imagine what else we have coming our way.  Our oldest is only 7!  We have plenty to go…

What’s the Worst or Most Expensive Mistake Your Kids Have Made?

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Centavos October 4, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Aside from a couple broken bones as a result of “Hey, watch me do this…. BAM!”, that resulted in a hefty co-pay, I don’t think our kids have quite escalated to a semi-flooded home. It could have indeed been worse.


Darwin October 5, 2011 at 8:34 am

Oh broken bones and cuts, don’t even get me started… ER knows our middle son on a first name basis!


Financial Samurai October 4, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Funny, cuz I did basically the same thing, but with my tub! I have a bath deepener and a jet tub that overflowed without me knowing when i sat in it.



Darwin October 5, 2011 at 8:34 am

Hah, funny. I’ll tell him – he won’t feel so bad. The Financial Samurai did the same thing!


cashflowmantra October 4, 2011 at 11:21 pm

All possessions become disposable when kids are involved. My second oldest has created damage to 3 cars. Total cost $3200 without counting the inevitable increase in insurance premium. I haven’t even bothered to fix the garage so you could add a couple hundred more for trim. Did I mention that she got two of our cars in a single incident? Gotta love teenage drivers.


Darwin October 5, 2011 at 8:35 am

Totally; I’ve given up trying to do nice upgrades to anything our kids touch. We’ll save our money for retirement :>

They say we’ll miss this someday!


Money Beagle October 5, 2011 at 10:37 am

Our oldest is only two so he hasn’t really had the chance to do anything big yet, but I’m sure it’s coming!


Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog October 5, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Holy crap that sounds like a lot of damage. Probably a good call of just having him clean it up then talk about it later. Poor dude probably felt bad enough. Im assuming you removed some drywall to prevent more from getting wet?


Money Cone October 5, 2011 at 1:40 pm

My kid is not old enough for serious mischief, but I’ll watch out for this one!


Martin October 5, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Nice post Darwin. Definently child proofing your house goes beyond safety items. It definently includes your wallet as well. We planned for this pretty well I think.

With the kid, we picked a $350 couch (new) at Big Lots – disposable right? I remember jumping on my parents couches while I was younger and always getting yelled at.

The baby’s room – I removed the carpet and installed wood floor laminate (carpet was due for replacement). .89 Cents a square foot (10×12) – again – disposable.

The future teenage driver situation: I’m an Auto Tech. Nothing I’ve driven has had less than a 100k. Same treatment. Your scratch, ding, dent – your problem – And you’re parking in the street.


Sass October 8, 2011 at 12:41 pm

I think the Princess’s biggest money mistake was the $350+ cell phone bill when she was in 8th grade. The 400 text package had done fine for a couple of years and THEN she got a “boyfriend”. Imagine my surprise to open that bill up to see it $350 over normal. I immediately called my cell provider and discovered that thus far into the new billing cycle she had already racked up an additional $100 over the normal bill. I immediately switched to unlimited texting for $20/month, and they were kind enough to backdate it to the beginning of the new billing cycle. They couldn’t make the $350 one go away though. The Princess did A LOT of yard work to work off that bill. (And she despises yard work).


Funny about Money October 9, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Good lord, man! If the kid is still living, you’re clearly saint material.

I started nicknaming my son “Caligula” after he caused me to say, with a straight face, “please don’t walk on the ceiling.”

His worst misadventure came about two days after his dad gave him a car. Chatting with his pals and paying zero attention, he blew a light at a major intersection and totaled not one but two other drivers’ vehicles. Mercifully, no one was hurt.


Bret @ Hope to Prosper October 10, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Now that my kids are adults (but still living with us), we are starting to fix up the place and get nicer furnishings. I miss the fun we had when they were young, but I certainly don’t miss all of the things they ruined.


Amy October 12, 2011 at 10:15 am

This is why we can’t have nice things.


Laura in Cancun October 12, 2011 at 10:47 am

A friend of my parents once told us a story about when she was a kid. She and her brother really wanted to go ice skating, but the parents weren’t home to take them. So what did they do? They covered the entire floor in syrup so they could slide around on it. I don’t even want to think what the cleanup there was.


Stacey October 12, 2011 at 12:08 pm

My children, 12, 7 and 5, haven’t done much more than break a few things and spill milk all over the floor immediately after it being mopped. They sleep in college loft-like bunkbeds (made with unpainted 2×4’s) and have used carpet on their floors. I refuse to supply them with cute, expensive furniture because I don’t want it ruined! (They are all three boys…) A friend of mine came home from work once to find her children swimming in the swimming pool they had set up in the basement. Ran the hose down the stairs and filled up the rather large pool. Took a long time with the wet vac getting all that water out of the pool!


Lisa October 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm

I have to know: what happened to the poor hermit crab???


Miriam October 12, 2011 at 4:53 pm

I don’t have kids myself, but my niece and nephew once emptied a full bottle of baby talcum powder in a spare room. It took me 4 months before I could muster the courage to clean it up.


EngineerMom October 12, 2011 at 8:52 pm

My kids are only 3 and 3 months, so the worst damage we’ve seen is mostly related to injuries (3-year-old broke his finger at 18 months old by climbing into a rocking chair and then tipping it over, smashing finger between wood rocking chair and wood floor) and spills. We have used furniture – couch from a coworker of mine from my first job out of college, lightweight sectional pieces from my parents – wood floors, and washable rugs. I painted all the walls in semigloss (easy to clean up paint, paper mache, food, etc.) in our house, and if a toy gets broken, I have my 3-year-old carry it out to the trash himself, so he can see what the result of abusing toys is – it’s gone, and it’s not coming back.


lee October 13, 2011 at 9:28 am

My daughter is the most accident prone of my 2 kids, funnily my son is pretty sensible.

My daughter so far has totalled 2 computers(one desktop and one laptop)broke a wrist falling downstairs, severly bruised her hip whilst playing and fallen and bit the wooden bedpost when playing trampoline on the bed. The teeth survived, not sure how, as the bed still bears the very deep marks to this day .

But the most spectacular incident was when she was standing on the dinning room table-just don’t ask -ok and batting a feather in the air, it moved out of her reach and she overbalanced and fell off the table . To save herself she grabbed the full length heavy curtains(drapes) and luckily pulled them down on herself . I say luckily because she also pulled down part of the bay window and brickwork that the rail was attached to, on top of herself, only the thick curtains(drapes) saved her!
That’s how we found out the bay was rotten and needed completely rebuilding and the upper bay as well. So in a way she did us a good turn because it could have been far worse with someone falling through the upper bay.

The funniest (well after the first distraught moments) was as a toddler she ate a full packet of plaque disclossing tablets . These were bought to help her older brother see where he was mising brushing his teeth. They turned her nappy(diaper) bright orange, the doctor assured us they were harmless but just to warn the staff at nursery!

p.s. I am from the uk -can’t you tell!


Sarahs October 13, 2011 at 12:11 pm

My son unplugged the refrigerator (he was about 1) just before we left for a vacation. We had no idea. Came home to water all over the floor and the entire contents ruined. It did give me a chance to clean out the fridge though!


whitequeen96 October 13, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Years ago, my friend’s 5 yr. old daughter plugged in the iron and then hid it under the bed, lying flat on the carpet. Thank God my friend was home and smelled the burning before there was a fire! That same year, this child took a hose, pushed it through the cracked open window in their VACATIONING neighbors’ basement, turned it on, and went home! It wasn’t discovered until nearly a week later, by which time an incredible amount of damage had been done. I’m sure their insurance rates skyrocketed after that!


DavosSherman October 13, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Truly sorry this happened to you. Admire the way you handled it with your son.


Darwin October 13, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Thanks man, appreciate it. I guess I’ll be blogging a bit more than usual this month!


DavosSherman October 13, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Cool, I don’t agree with your views on gold, but I truly admire and respect your parenting/husbanding ways!!! Take care, D-


Darwin October 13, 2011 at 7:29 pm

I’m lovin’ these stories, keep em comin!


Len Penzo October 14, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Well, that trumps my story about the time my kids (who were I think 4 and 2 at the time) found two brand new industrial-sized containers of Costco baby powder and decided to create “a winter wonderland” in my son’s bedroom.

Ever try to clean up three or four pounds of baby powder? Or keep it from migrating to other rooms of the house? Not an easy job, folks.

The Honeybee called me up at work that day, crying — and begging me to get home quickly before she killed our offspring. LOL! (Well, now.)

My only regret is we were so upset neither of us thought to take photos.


Paula @ Afford Anything October 21, 2011 at 4:02 pm

My sister spent the first few years of early motherhood as a stay-at-home mom. When she returned to work, she arranged with her new job that her “work week” would be Wednesday through Sunday, so that her hubby could watch the kids on the weekends. Her own “weekends” would be Mon/Tues. That way they only need childcare 3 days a week, instead of 5.

So on her FIRST day back at work …. her FIRST DAY!! …. she left her husband to watch the kids alone, which was a new experience for him. He sort of tuned out and wasn’t paying too much attention. The result? The two-year-old scribbled with marker all over their $1,700 suede couch.

Oh man, was my sister pissed!!


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