I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
April 25, 2011
“Mommy!” my four-year-old cried pitifully from the bottom of the stairs a few days ago. “A rock blowed up my nose.”
I put down the clothes I was folding on my bed and went to the top of the stairs. Please oh please let me have heard him wrong, I thought to myself.
“What did you say?” I asked him.
“I was playing and a rock felleded up into my nose,” he said, his face streaked with tears and dirt. “It just blowed up in dere.”
I went downstairs, crouched in front of Bruiser and held him by the shoulders. “Look up,” I commanded, peering into his nostrils. I paused for a moment and shuddered.
There, lodged as far back in his nose as I could see, was a small, smooth pebble. It was completely blocking his nasal cavity.
As you can imagine, this was deeply distressing. I mean, I’d heard of small boys putting things like rocks and Legos and peanuts up their noses, but I had always known that my children would never do anything like that. Because my children were, frankly, smarter. My children had common sense.
My child had put a FREAKING ROCK UP HIS NOSE.
“Why did you put a rock up your nose?” I demanded. “Why would you do that?”
“I didn’t,” he insisted. “It just blowed up dere.”
“Rocks do not blow up your nose.”
This was no time to debate. “Stay here,” I said. “I’ll be right back. And whatever you do, don’t sniff!” I ran and grabbed a box of Kleenex.
“Okay,” I said when I returned, handing him a wad of tissues. “Blow into this and let’s see if the rock comes out.” Dutifully, he blew. And blew. And blew.
The rock stayed put.
“Uhhhhh, okay,” I said. “Let’s go upstairs and I’ll try to get the rock out with tweezers.” Hand in hand, we went up to my bathroom and I found a pair of tweezers in my drawer. After wiping down the tweezers with rubbing alcohol, I had Bruiser look up again. Tentatively, I attempted to get a hold on the rock with the tweezers. But the rock was very far back in his nose, and it was slippery with snot. Visions of accidentally pushing the rock farther back into his nasal cavity filled my head. It was like the worst game of Operation ever.
At that point, I came to a stunning realization. As a mom, I had learned that I was capable of doing far more things than I had ever dreamed possible. I could carefully pry ticks from my children’s skin without them even noticing. I could catch their vomit in my hands. I could wipe their butts. But I could not remove a rock from my son’s nasal cavity. Nope. I just couldn’t do it.
“We have to go to the doctor,” I said grimly, standing up.
Bruiser began crying while I went into controlled panic mode, running around the house and grabbing things. The phone. My purse. The car keys. My daughter. As I rushed about, I dialed the doctor’s office (a number, by the way, that I totally have memorized. Don’t you?) and waited on hold to speak to the receptionist.
“Don’t sniff!” I warned my son, pausing for a moment. “Whatever you do, don’t sniff!”
I was trying hard not to work myself up any more than I already had. It was just a rock, for heaven’s sake. Boys put rocks in their noses every day, right?
But I couldn’t help myself. Because what if the rock wouldn’t come out? What if the doctors had to perform surgery to get it out? What if the rock traveled back farther into his nose and LODGED IN HIS BRAIN? OH GOD. Why wasn’t anyone answering at the doctor’s office?! Where should I even take him? To my doctor’s office or straight to the hospital? Would they make us stay overnight? Would I need a change of clothes? Should I call my husband? An ambulance? The police department? My congressman? WHY wouldn’t someone answer the freaking phone at the doctor’s office?!
“Mommy,” Bruiser said.
“Just a minute, Bruiser,” I said, running back and forth. “We’ll leave in one minute.”
“Mommy, the rock came out.”
“I’ve just got to find my shoes,” I said. “And a first aid kit!”
“But the rock came out!”
I stopped short, and looked at him. He held out his hand. In his palm was a GIGANTICALLY ENORMOUS PEBBLE. I had only seen a small corner of it in his nose. Thank God I didn’t know how big it really was.
“How did you get it out?” I asked him incredulously.
“It just blowed back out,” he shrugged.
There would be no brain surgery, then. No prolonged hospital stays. No pointed barbs from other mommy bloggers about how maybe fewer boys would stick rocks up their noses if their mothers weren’t on Facebook all the time. No Dateline exclusive. No Nancy Grace dissecting my mothering skills while displaying a photo of me from college, beer in hand and eyes half-closed, captioned “Hard Rock Mommy.” My son was going to be okay. IT WAS A GOOD FRIDAY MIRACLE.
“Oh, thank God,” I said. And then I took the rock and carefully placed it in a plastic bag, to be tucked away in Bruiser’s keepsake box beside his first lock of hair. I’d have to make a little card to put in with it, written in fancy calligraphy. Bruiser put this rock up his nose. Age 4. How special.
At our community-wide Easter Egg Hunt the next day, I ran into a mom I had met a few months earlier on a park nature hike. (No, not that mom.)
“Boys are very… different, aren’t they?” she mused, watching my son punch himself in the head.
“Um, YES,” I said. “He keeps me busy. In fact, just yesterday, he shoved a rock up his nose.”
“Well, after three girls, I was convinced my son needed therapy,” she told me. “But then my husband said, ‘No, honey, he’s just a boy. I remember doing stuff like that too when I was his age.'”
I laughed. I had thought the same thing about Bruiser.
“Just the other day,” she continued, “I thought he was playing so nicely in his room. I went up there and he had taken a butter knife and was digging a hole in the drywall! I said, ‘Son, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!’ He told me he was looking for The Littles!”
Now I understand why it has always seemed to me that moms with boys have their own little club. As it turns out, we’re not mean girls. We’re merely survivors, exchanging war stories from our time spent in the trenches of boyhood.
And oh hell….
I’VE GOT A LONG WAY TO GO.