Today was…interesting. I watched a child, age 7, place a rather large hair barrette in her mouth. As I was saying, “Don’t put that in your mouth! You might swal….” she did. She swallowed it.
Now, this was no little bitty barrette. It was two inches long when closed and puffed out to look like a bow. It had a clip in the back, but I’m not sure if the clip was open or closed when it took the trip down her throat. Either way, it was scary and dangerous. The child looked at me in shock and said, “It’s gone! I swallowed it! That kinda hurt!”
I did the logical thing. As soon as I saw that it went down WITHOUT CHOKING HER TO DEATH, I went to the office to have them call her mother. The office called, and, after several attempts, finally got up with her. This was at 9:30 this morning. Mom arrived….at 2:05. After speaking with her child (quietly, off in the corner) she came back and told the office staff, “That lady was mistaken. I counted her barrettes this morning. She’s not missing any. That lady was mistaken.” She then took the child and went home.
THE LADY WAS MISTAKEN? THE LADY WAS MISTAKEN???? What the hell? That barrette was large enough to do possible damage on the way through her little digestive system. I was shaking, I was so mad. SHE COUNTED THE BARRETTES THIS MORNING? Really? Because I know that is what I did when I put barrettes in my child’s hair. I counted. Yep. Every time.
I know that kids will be kids. Children do not have the ability to think through their actions (neither do we as adults sometimes!) at this age. Children always have, and always will, do stupid things. That’s why they are supposed to have parents with some sense.
When I was four years old, there was a large bush that grew in my yard. The bush was covered with beautiful, bright red berries. My mom cautioned me to never, ever put the berries in my mouth because they could make me very sick. As I was an obedient child, I listened to my mother. Not once did I eat the berries. But she never said I shouldn’t shove them up my nose.
After shoving three or four of those big-ass berries up my tiny nostril, I couldn’t breath very well. My nose started snotting up and I cried. When mom came running, I told her what I did with the berries. After several torturous minutes of her rooting around in my nose without success, she called a friend to take us to the doctor. Just as we pulled into the parking lot of the doctor’s office, nature took over and I let out a nose-clearing sneeze that solved the problem without any further assistance.
The point is, I did something stupid, like kids do. And my mom did what good parents do: she handled it. This little girl who is currently digesting a huge chunk of plastic, deserves to have a parent who will handle it. Not pretend it didn’t happen.