Friday, November 07, 2008

Always and For Never

Since becoming a mother on February 6, 2006, I have been a big proponent of absolutes when it comes to parenting. Here are a few:

Jarrah will always love vegetables.
Jarrah will always be fearless.
Jarrah will never be potty-trained.
Jarrah will never use scissors in a manner disrespectful to my property.

One by one, these absolutes have toppled like so many alphabet blocks. Yet I keep finding faith in new ones, Readers. Here's one that I have believed in--with great smugness, I should add--for nearly three years:

Jarrah will never ram anything up her nose--she's too sensible for that.

Do you hear that sound, Readers? It's the sound of cherubs crying. The ones who have kept me veiled in innocence for so long, and now must see me dazzled by the blinding truth.

Two nights ago, I was making dinner (rather handily, I might add--I had several pots boiling at once) when Jarrah, who'd been rolling on the carpet in front of the TV, suddenly announced:

"I need to get this out."

"What do you need out?" I asked, without turning around. I didn't want to oversteam my broccoli.

"I need...this out." Now I turned around. She was pointing to her nose. I could see something poking from her left nostril. It looked like a giant booger. As I moved towards her, flexing my index finger, I realized it was far too white to be a booger. Too shiny. And too...large.

At this point, I should divert briefly to describe an earlier incident. During school pickup that day, Jarrah had spotted a tiny, round stone on the curb. "Can I bring this home?" she asked. Who knows why she wanted it? She gets very attached to random natural objects. One day a pine cone, the next a stick, the day before a dessicated leaf.

"Sure," I said.

"I'm going to call him Rocky."

"Sounds like a plan."

"He's going to take a nap with me."

"Not in the bed."

"On the pink chair?"


And that was the last I'd seen or thought of Rocky. Until now. Because now I could see it was Rocky who was currently and inelegantly stuffed into her nasal cavity. I froze. I began speaking in a soothing, deliberate voice, as if negotiating with terrorists.

"Sweetie. I can see there's a rock in your nose. I'm going to reach in V-E-R-Y slowly [demonstrating] and wiggle it out [further demonstrating] like this. Please try not to move at all. Not at ALL."

Thankfully, Rocky came right out. He hadn't really settled in yet, and didn't take a lot of convincing. I breathed a big, noisy breath (I think I'd been holding it for about 30 seconds, envisioning us in the emergency room all evening) and then rushed back to the stove to see about my broccoli. Behind me, Jarrah burst into tears.

"Now, Jarrah," I said. "You're fine. You just had a little fright. I am going to get this under control [twisting burners] and then we're going to have a little conversation."

I picked her up and carried her to the couch, and hugged her until she stopped crying.

"Are you crying because you're embarrassed that you put Rocky up your nose?"

"Nooooo. I'm crying because I'm sad."

"Why are you sad?"

"Because I had a rock up my nose."

"Um, okay. Listen, we have to have a talk. What just happened is a childhood rite of passage. Everybody does it. I had formerly believed that you might be exempt, but now I see that was just rookie foolishness. I'm not mad. But you must never, ever do it again."


"Because next time we might have to spend the night at the hospital, where it's cold and loud and crowded, and we'll be very tired and have to wait a long time. And a doctor will have to work very hard, with a sharp, pointy stick, to get the thing out of your nose."


"And there won't be any good snacks there."


"So can I trust you not to put Rocky or anything else up your nose again?"

"Yeah. But why?"

Ah, yes. Another absolute in the recycling bin. "All truths that are evident to me will be evident to my child."

Sure. For about 14 seconds. In our next installment: "Fun with Matches."


Anonymous said...

OOh, it's been a while since I got the first comment on one of your posts... I knew there was some advantage to moving across the globe! :)

Poor Jarrah. And poor you! But as long as she's still eating broccoli, you're doing something right! :) xx Liz

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

I am in tears! Golly, I love Jarrah stories. You did such a good job explaining why she mustn't put objects in her nose, and you found the right incentive for her -- not the loud hospital, not waiting, not even sharp sticks. Hospitals haven't any good snacks. Perfect!

Can I tell you now how many times I was in ER with Kristen having objects removed from her nasal cavity. At least three. Apparently, it took me a while to find the proper incentive to get her to stop, although now I don't remember how it happened. She probably just got tired of the doctor's sharp, pointy stick up her nose.

LunaMoonbeam said...'s pathetic, but I REMEMBER sticking things up my nose when I was a kid. Usually pencil erasers. I got very good at getting them back out, and I don't think my mother ever knew that her second eldest daughter was such an...idiot. ;-)

You handled that VERY well, Mama!

Caroline said...

--"Yeah. But why?"--

After a long, beautiful explanation, these are the moments in which I can feel my sanity slipping away. My boys are very fond of this one.

You were a perfect Dr. Mom, good job!

Have I ever told you my brother in law's "rocks in my ears" story?

Anonymous said...

Oh, what a great story! I think putting things in terms of snacks was very smart of you.

When I was about Jarrah's age I put a button up my nose. We had to go to the emergency room and I still remember being petrified of the penlight the doctor was using to see up there. I was so hysterical with fear that they had to put me in a straitjacket! I am not kidding. They never found the button, btw. It never occurred to me till this moment that I might have to endure such a thing as a mom. . . I'm going to watch Sage more closely now! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Talk about knowing your audience, brilliant!


Anonymous said...

I love Rocky: you need to stow him away somewhere, and bring him out at Jarrah's wedding--;-D

We did get a trip to the ER for two LEGO accessories up the nose: luckily we went, because we were not aware of #2 (you would think one would be enough, but apparently he was hoarding them like a hamster...)

It is definitely a rite of passage--LOL :-D

Love, Lisa

Melanie Sheridan said...

Mine chose a berry off the bush in front of our last apartment. Fortunately he was able to blow it out snot rocket style. Kids.

The Wades said...

Do you know the blowing trick? It works pretty dang well.

Your writing is so dang awesome--I can totally imagine all those pots boiling away. You're one descriptive mama! :)

katydidnot said...

holy heck. that's the funniest thing i've read all day.

i'm sad because i had a rock in my nose. heh. yuh.

i love your calm, not at all frazzled, non-yelling, peacable manner.

here's me: holy s**t! WHAT THE FRICK DID YOU DO? what the heck is up your nose! DON'T MOVE!

here's my child: AAAAHHHHH!

Laural Out Loud said...

It's a shame you can't rationalize with kids. I try and try. I should stop. I would never think to use bad snacks as a deterent, but I think it'd work with my daughter as well! Who is four and just now deciding to experiment with her nasal cavity.