So we all know that children like to stick body parts into holes. Recently I also discovered that children like to stick things into their own bodily orifices.
I bought Rollie a marble maze the other day. It’s a neat toy, really, with different plastic parts you piece together to make a sort of obstacle run for marbles. I sat with him on his floor and poured over the instructions, painstakingly building a glorious tower of loops, curves, funnels and slaloms for his colored marbles to navigate. He sat beside me, seemingly fascinated with the toy, asking me where the different pieces went, handing me each section as I needed it. I followed the directions step by step, completely engrossed with what I was doing, determined to make the maze look exactly like it did on the box.
I was so engrossed, in fact, that I failed to notice Rollie had stopped handing me pieces and had grown unusually quiet. I glanced away from the instructions and saw him holding a bright red marble between his chubby little fingers, holding it dangerously close to his left nostril.
He looked up at me with a perfectly innocent expression, hand still poised by his nose.
“What are you doing?” I almost laughed, but I knew that laughing would be just about the worst thing I could do.
He didn’t have an answer for me. Probably because no answer was needed. I knew darn well what he was doing, and so did he.
“Rollie, we don’t stick marbles in our noses. Or anything else, for that matter.”
He still didn’t reply, but he reluctantly took his hand away from his nose and rolled the marble between his fingers as if contemplating where else he might be able to stick it.
“You should never, ever stick anything up your nose,” I said. “It could get stuck and I might not be able to get it out.” There. That seemed effective enough. Honest, to the point, with just enough uncertainty to discourage him from trying it again.
Only a few days later he was sitting at the table with some play-dough while I fixed dinner, I heard the telltale sound of him pulling on one of his diaper’s tabs (for some reason, after Rollie eats lunch he decides he’s more comfortable without any pants on).
“Rollie, keep your diaper on please,” I said, although I foolishly didn’t bother investigating.
A few minutes later, I wandered over to the table to check on him. He still had all his little play-dough tools out, but the play-dough itself looked suspiciously scarce.
“What happened to all your play-dough?” I asked. “You didn’t drop it, did you?”
He shook his head.
“Well where is it, then?”
He looked up at me and said, “It’s poopy.”
“It’s poopy?” I asked. Then I noticed his diaper was still open on once side.
Ah yes, the panic of a mom who already knows the answer to a very dreaded question: “What do you mean, it’s poopy?”
He leaned to one side so I could see for myself. Balled up inside his diaper like alien excrement were several large chunks of blue play-dough.
“Rollie,” I started. But alas, what could I say? We don’t stick play-dough up our butts somehow didn’t seem like the right speech, even though that’s pretty much how I felt.
After removing a rainbow of play-dough balls from my son’s diaper, I realized that it could have been worse. I’ve successfully thwarted my sons attempts to introduce foreign objects into two orifices with minimal damage (although I did have to dispose of most of his blue play-dough, and the next time he pooped it was a suspicious shade of neon green). At least he hasn’t swallowed anything or jabbed a hole in his eardrum. I think the best thing for now is to make sure his toys are too big to fit in any hole they aren’t supposed to. Until he’s moved onto another phase, like flushing things down the toilet. Stay tuned for that chapter….