We were babysitting the GK's last weekend. NG1 & 2 were in a good mood and great fun was being had.
At the table the Bonsai reside on, NG1 pulled out the stool, climbed up, and sat down, entertaining himself with the decorative planter stones we keep in a plastic bowl. He enjoys the odd textures of the stones, and the noises they make when he taps them together. Natures little "toy blocks" can keep him occupied for a fair amount of time as he takes them out, puts them back, and taps them.
He is also fascinated with the washer and dryer. When you look at appliances as a child does, you can see the wonderment, with all the noises, lights, buttons, knobs, and movements these things provide. Now, add in the windowed doors where you can actually WATCH everything sloshing and tumbling, well, you have their full attention.
However...when mother nature and modern manufacturing meet, it is not always pretty. As we found out.
The washer started into the spin cycle and caught his attention. He got down from the stool, still holding onto one of the stones, and went to investigate the twirling clothes within. I followed shortly behind him to get the stone before it had a chance to be misplaced. Too late. Kids are like magicians, "now you see it, and now, you don't". I looked all over for the stone and it was nowhere to be found. I figured, "OK, it'll turn up when we're cleaning". The washer finished spinning and started refilling, and we moved on to other games and things of interest. When the washer started the next spin cycle, it made a noise like a cement truck filled with a ton of gravel.
We found the stone.
Note to any parents with little kids and a Sears front loading washer with pull out dispensing drawer: there is an opening, a gap, below the drawer and the main body that allows for small objects to enter the washer. Nice option they don't advertise, BTW.
Silly me. I was thinking, "I'll just wait for the load to end, and pull the stone out with the laundry". Not so much. Got the clothes out, and no stone. What the hey!
When you add laundry soaps, softeners, bleach,...it gets deposited into the DRUM, NOT the basket. That stone was NOT going to pass through the little holes provided for water to pass through. We could hear the stone rattling around between the basket and the drum with no visible signs as to how to get at it short of calling a service tech out to tear the whole washer apart.
I got lucky (I thought). Moving the rubber door seal out a bit, I could see the stone through this little gap between the walls of the drum and basket. After on and off attempts with various items of household destruction, I found I just couldn't get at it with any tools that might grab it. Oh bother.
Then it hit me, tools that grab do not need to be HARD tools, they can be soft tools, like...TAPE. So I looped some masking tape, fished it down with a skinny probe, and after an attempt or two, out came the stone. And apparently, with no serious, permanent damage to the washer.
Couple things to remember here: first, just because YOU don't see a problem, doesn't mean a child won't FIND one. And second, if you aren't creative, keep a well fed checkbook handy. You may need a service tech.