A few nights ago I went into the kitchen to start dishing out dinner and found Tim in there, chuckling to himself.
"You're raising Ramona," he said.
"Excuse me?" I asked, because first of all, awesome, and second of all, awesome. (I cannot hyperlink from the app I use to blog at the moment so if you do not know Ramona Quimby, I suggest a quick trip to Wikipedia and then hie thee to a library or Amazon, like, yesterday. You're welcome.)
"I came in and saw Lily sitting on the floor, holding the strawberry container like a bear, taking one bite out of each berry and carefully putting it back." I looked in the little plastic supermarket container and saw the half masticated berries, thanked my lucky stars I had already assembled the salad for which they were purchased and laughed too. Of course one of my kids would do that. Of course it was Lily, because if any of my kids are going to draw on the walls, or find the train whistle I SWEAR I HID ON TOP OF THE FRIDGE, or take one bite out of a hundred pieces of fruit that she doesn't really like, well, it's going to be Lily. I thought Anna was my master of hijinks and odd situations, and then Lily hit toddlerhood and I realized how wrong I was.
That is until the other day. I was in my room folding laundry/cleaning/hiding out and surfing Facebook (two lies and a truth, who wants to play a game?) when I heard Anna start crying down the hall. It wasn't her hurt cry, but it wasn't her "someone took my toys and the balance of my universe is forever shattered" battle wail either. I was making my way for her when she burst into the room, wailing louder and louder.
"Anna what is it?"
"I SWALLOWED SOMETHING AND MARY SAID IT'S GONNA STAY IN MY TUMMY FOREVERRRRR!"
There are few things that will put a cold grip around my stomach but a sentence like that is one of them.
"Okay," I said, forcing myself to sound calm and breathe deeply. "What did you swallow?"
"ONE OF THESE!" she wailed, holding out an entire popsicle stick, a remnant from the kids' snack earlier. My eyes went wide.
"You ate a popsicle stick?" I asked incredulously. My lizard brain was informing me "no way did she swallow a whole popsicle stick" but the emotional brain was looking at Anna, who has done and said some pretty weird stuff in her four years on earth. "A WHOLE POPSICLE STICK?"
"You mean you put it in your mouth and chewed it up-" here comes the pantomime, and I realize I am raising Fudge as well. (Wikipedia. Fictional turtle death mentioned.) "-like this?"
I looked at the clock. 4:30. Pediatrician closed until tomorrow. Nearest walk in a bit of a drive and a nightmare with three kids. This doesn't seem 911 worthy but...
"Poison control," the woman answered, sounding entirely too calm.
"Hi. I'm not sure if you can help me. I mean, you probably can but I don't know if I'm calling the right place but the doctor is closed and this doesn't SEEM like a 911 thing but of course if it is I can call 911, I mean, I don't mind, but okay, my four year old ate a popsicle stick. She says the whole thing. I think she ate a piece of it or something but regardless, MY CHILD ATE WOOD. SPLINTERY WOOD."
"Okay," the woman said. I know they're paid to be calm in all circumstances but this is a woman who will never die of a heart attack. "I can help you with that. What city are you calling from?"
I hate giving my city. I don't know why. I don't mind now because this time, unlike when Mary sucked on a tube of medicated skin cream or ate - okay, I don't remember what but I know I've had to call twice before and yes I AM A GOOD MOTHER DAMMIT - this one is not my fault.
Long story short, amid Anna's wails and Mary's now loud assertions that Anna only ate a little piece, she just broke it off and ATE IT, Mommy, and ISN'T THAT SILLY?, I am told that as long as my child isn't choking or having trouble using the bathroom she's probably fine, but take her in if she starts acting like she can't breathe or digest things properly.
I get off the phone and lean against the wall. Anna has stopped crying after multiple reassurances that Mary is not a doctor and the popsicle stick will not be maintaining permanent residency in her abdominal cavity. Lily and Mary have moved on to trying to coax the cat out from under my bed. And I have a mountain of chores left and dinner to make.
"Mama?" Anna asks brightly. "Can I have another popsicle?"
"No, Anna. No more popsicles."
"But I bet it would make that stick I ate just pop right out!"
"You know what kid? Sure. Have a popsicle."
Because Mommy's having a drink.