Reduce, Reuse, Redbox / by Courtney Mehlhaff

A couple months ago, a friend came to my apartment for dinner, along with her husband and one-year-old daughter. We had a nice meal and then lounged in the living room, while the little girl toddled around.

As I don't have kids, I don't have a stockpile of toys, and I also don't have anything baby-proofed. But I really don't care what any visiting children play with, as long as there's no danger they'll get hurt. Read: I'm fine with broken stuff -- just don't stick anything in a light socket. Or drop one of my 5lb. free weights on your tiny foot. But that's another story.

So this little tyke, just getting her sea legs, motored around my whole place like a wobbly whirling dervish. Then she threw up on the couch. Then we laughed and her mom cleaned it up, and they left, and I went about the rest of my evening.

When I went to watch one of the DVDs I'd rented earlier in the day, it was nowhere to be found. My search of the apartment turned up only a couple of the kid's toys she'd forgotten. Figuring the movie had gotten mixed up in toddler stuff, I assumed it was probably mistakenly hitching a ride home with my friends.

I texted them, saying they could feel free to watch and return it after they unpacked. My friend immediately replied, "Check your recycling."

I wandered into the kitchen, where I keep a brown paper bag on the floor. Sure enough, crammed in between flattened boxes and soup cans was the DVD. I'm not sure if the little girl deposited it there on accident or as a judgment on the quality of the film, but I do know this: Parents are amazing.