What happens when you don’t “Respect the Knife”

One of the near-mandatory experiences when going to Disney World with two young daughters is to do some sort of meet-and-greet with the Disney princesses. However, one would think that this wouldn’t also entail a trip to the hospital for the dad.   Yet that is exactly what happened to T, and the girls witnessed a cautionary tale of what happens when you don’t “Respect the Knife”.

You should know that T has a mantra that he’s been drilling into the girls’ heads for years: “Respect the Knife”. As soon as they started showing an interest in the food preparation that goes on in the kitchen and wanted to watch, T has been instilling this into them. “Knives need to be sharp so they can work well and safely. But this means that the knife can cut your fingers as easily as it can cut the veggies. I will teach you how to cut with the knife when you get a bit older, but you must always remember, ‘Always Respect the Knife!'” The girls dutifully repeated the mantra after him in their little kid voices, “Always respect the knife!”.

Flash-forward to February, 2013. E1 is nearly 5 years old and E2 is close to 3 year old. We are at our first ever trip to Disney World. And we are about to embark on one of the planned highlights of the trip, a the Princess Storybook Dinner at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot. Reservations were made months in advance, as this is a high-demand experience. (people start booking Disney restaurant reservations 180 days in advance…seriously!!)

As part of the whole Disney trip experience, we agreed that the girls would get to shop for their princess dress of choice (plus one accessory) from one of the Disney shops, and that would be their main souvenir of our trip. E1 chose the golden Belle dress with the rose tiara. E2 chose Rapunzel’s purple dress with a light-up scepter.  We headed back to our room to change for dinner.

The girls pull on their dresses with a twirl and a flourish. But of course, the darn packaging is zip-tied to the tiara and scepter. How to get it off? Do we head the 40 steps down the hall to the concierge desk to ask for a pair of scissors, the proper tool for the job, to cut it off? No, Tai decides to whip out his pocket knife.

And he does not respect the knife. A deep gash in his left thumb ensues.

At least the tiara and scepter were freed from their packaging. The girls flaunted their accessories at each other. Then in serious voices, they intoned, “Daddy, you didn’t respect the knife.”

He applies pressure to his thumb quickly so thankfully there isn’t blood everywhere. Attempts to bandage up the wound with our meagre first aid kit are almost laughable, but we are already running late. We still have a commute from our hotel near Magic Kingdom to Epcot to go. A commute that involves a change of monorail trains, and a not-insignificant amount of walking to the banquet hall from the Epcot front gate.

We arrived at the banquet hall late, sweaty, and out-of-breath, and the once-white bandage on T’s thumb was now bloody red. He attempted to change the bandage in the washroom only to make a bloody mess all over the sink. Returning to our table, he grins and bears it to the end of the meal. He even takes pictures of the girls with each of the princesses that came around. (We did have to clean the blood off the camera that night).


At last the meal was over and we found our way to the first aid office. Conferring with the nurse and his insurance, it was decided that he needed to head to the Disney county hospital for either stitches or surgical glue.

We reassured them that Daddy was going to be alright, and that he would meet us back at the hotel probably after they were asleep. The girls were surprisingly nonchalant about having to leave their father to his fate while we continued to explore Epcot without him. He arrived back at the hotel after the girls were asleep, with observations to share about the first aid shuttle and the Disney county hospital.

From then on, the girls are quick to pull out this anecdote whenever the topic of knife safety comes up. “Respect the knife!”