Now that the clouds have lifted a bit for me, I'm looking back to myself a few weeks ago realizing just how dark I was. For example, I kind of got convinced that I was going to keel over and die of a brain aneurysm (or something! you never know!) so I took an afternoon to drill into my kids the protocol of 911. We went over everything. How to work the phone: You push nine, then one, then one again, then the green button. If you mess up, you can just press the red button at any time and start over. You tell the nice person on the other end where we live and that mommy is facedown in a pool of rabid foam or whatever. I even made a little sign that is still taped up in the living room. Is that morbid? Well! What if I really did keel over? It happens to people. Didn't you see Steel Magnolias?
What I didn't know then, that's kinda creepy now that I think about it, was how soon we'd put our practice to use. Yup.
I always go through the kids' stuff. Valentine's Day was no different. She came home with her little bag of goodies from the kids in class and I did a triage: paper/candy/trinkets and I confiscated the latter two piles. We're just not having an all night lollipop fest up in here. I put the candy and trinkets out of her reach on the counter and went about my day. The next morning I was changing the baby and I noticed Bee was acting weird.
She was hiding from me.
At first I figured they were playing a game. She was kind of at my feet, but hiding behind a chair. I asked her what was going on and she coughed. Then she gagged. Then she retched. I demanded. WHAT IS GOING ON?
[Cough, gag] "Nothing".
Every mom on the planet knows "nothing" means some boolshiz is going down, so I went behind the chair and asked her again. This time, she started bawling and I saw a bunch of yellow junk in her mouth. What? She handed me a broken glow stick with teeth marks. Apparently she had dragged a chair over to the counter when I was busy and got into her treasures, which included a freaking matchstick-sized glow stick.
Look, I don't like to hand out teeth-rotting candy either. I know that mom meant well and I get it because now all I'm wondering is who guzzled the bubbles we gave out. But still. Miniature glow sticks that double as choking hazards and poison? Just saying, maybe don't give those to a class of preschoolers.
In the back of my mind I had this Pintrosity article flashing. A mom had broken open glow sticks in the bath tub for her kid not knowing they contain glass and the kid got all cut up. Also, if tap water is going to kill you, what the hell is glow-in-the-dark serum going to do to my kid? Instant tumors? Just disintegrate her on the spot?
My first move was to call poison control. Well, there must have been a fire sale on glow sticks and consequently they were being chowed on all over town because there was a wait time of five minutes. Five minutes. Look, this wasn't a charge I needed to dispute on my credit card or an order I needed to place at the Gap. My f'ing kid was crying and gagging on liquid nitrogen gasoline acid laced with particles of broken glass. In five minutes she could be dead and already come back as a radioactive zombie eating my brains. WE DO NOT HAVE FIVE MINUTES.
Naturally, next I called 911. Who sent the fire department. Who called poison control. Who told them . . . glow sticks are non-toxic.
Oh, so many lessons.
1. Glow sticks are non-toxic. The more you know! Go ahead, toss glow sticks in your salads. Break them open and paint the inside of your eyelids. Whatever. We have all learned something.
2. Five years old is too young to know better, but old enough to devise a plot involving a provisional step stool. I can't believe I still have to say things like, "don't eat things that aren't food" but considering veggie burgers are made with neurotoxins, and everything we eat is made of plastic I can't really say she's crazy for gnawing the pretty yellow stick.
3. Always wear pants. You never know when you will be hosting the fire department in your living room.
And, most importantly . . .
4. Have a conversation with your kids about hiding in an emergency.
A big talk I had with my girls after the glow stick episode was this business of hiding from me. When she bit into it and realized she was up a creek, why didn't she just run to me so I could help? Because she was afraid she'd be in trouble? I said, "What's the worst that would happen? The very worst. You'd go to time out for two minutes." I saw a little click in her brain.
I told her I'm the answer to her problems, not the cause. I'm the helper. Glow stick today, Teen Mom season 28 tomorrow. We had a very long, warm, fuzzy discussion that let my kids know to never be scared to tell me if they screw up because after they sit in time out (for maybe ever) I'm the badass who will get in the ring for them. I'm on their side.
You get in a jam, you don't hide under a chair. You call mom.
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