The Boy at 4 has outgrown the jogging stroller. Beyond the fact that he's so heavy that pushing him hurts the husband back, his legs are so long that he must pull them up to his chin to keep them from getting tangled in the front wheel. So, the husband declared his riding days over and said The Boy could have on his birthday one last goodbye run. It was uneventful but pleasant, and The Boy returned from his last run cheerful enough to share bits from his snack bag with his brother.
We decided to carpool that day so we all would be home early for The Boy's birthday dinner. When I strapped The Lad into his seat, I noticed he had a half-eaten pecan from the snackbag. Eat it, I said, and then promptly forgot about the nut until we were almost to the boys' daycare. As we pulled up to a traffic light, I heard snuffling, sneezing and then crying from the backseat. I turned around to see The Lad rubbing his nose -- and no pecan in his hand.
"Did you put the nut up your nose?"
No response, but more snuffling and crying and rubbing his nose.
"He's put a nut up his nose."
"Can you see it?" the husband asked.
"No. Lad, what did you do with the nut?"
"Nose hurt," he cried, snuffling some more.
The Lad puts everything up his nose. Peas and beans have been soft enough to squeeze out and shoot across a table. Straw and crayons are large enough to just look silly. Fingers have a purpose. And all of it is guaranteed to get a laugh, at least from his brother and, if I'm being honest, sometimes from us. Have you seen a bedimpled toddler with crayons up his nose? It is funny.
A nut up his nose was less funny. At the daycare, we dropped The Boy off then tried to see, for sure, if the nut was in his nose. Every time we asked, The Lad just looked out the window. It reminded me of a dog I had years ago who got a bone stuck over his jaw. When we took that dog to the vet to have the bone cut off, he refused to look anyone -- human or dog -- in the eye, as if he were ashamed of himself. The Lad had the same hangdog look as he rubbed his nose, snuffled and whined.
We called the pediatrician who said if we couldn't see the nut, we should take him to the ER and, on our way there, we asked the Lad one last time what he put in his nose.
"Nut," he said sheepishly.
At the ER, The Lad became his usual cheery self as we waited, checking out the aquarium full of fish and grinning at others in the waiting room. The only sign of his ailment was a red spot on his left nostril.
The doctor who saw us was jovial and asked if I wanted to try an old home remedy -- blowing into The Lad's mouth while plugging the unblocked nostril to force out the foreign object. I did not. The Lad is enough of a Beast that I was afraid of getting bitten. The husband tried, but The Lad wiggled too much to create a seal and we were left to the doctor's second plan: swaddling The Lad in a sheet, holding him down (it took three nurses, me and the husband) and having the doctor hook out the nut with the bent end of a hemostat. Within seconds, the doctor held up a slimy quarter of a pecan victoriously. The Lad screamed at the indignity of it all and the husband and I got to work only 90 minutes late.
Now, you might think The Lad learned his lesson about sticking things up his nose. We certainly thought so, however, that night at The Boy's birthday dinner, I saw The Lad mess with his face out of the corner of my eye. Then, he snuffled.
"What did you stick up your nose?" I said, eyeing his mac and cheese and nostrils suspiciously. "Did you put a noodle up your nose?"
"I saw you, Lad. DID YOU PUT A NOODLE UP YOUR NOSE?"
"No. Hot dog."
He had stuck up a bit of hot dog bun, which we still could see. The husband fetched tweezers and we held down The Lad. He was so angry about being pinned on the floor, he screamed and snorted and the hot dog bun bit flew across my living room.
I am happy to report we're on day four with no foreign objects in The Lad's nose.