Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Great Penny Rescue

Well, I'm surprised we made it this far into our parenting journey without facing this situation, but it has finally happened.

Abram swallowed a coin.

No matter how many prior warnings your child has heeded about the dangers of putting stuff in his mouth, sometimes the urge to pretend he is an animal and use the object as said animal's 'food' wins out. (There's always a legitimate reason, right?)

He didn't intend to swallow it. Both kids were sitting at the kitchen table while I was preparing lunch, and suddenly I heard him cough a little.

“Mama,” he said. “I got money in my mouth!”

“Spit it out!” I said as I rushed to him. Too late. Panic set in. “What was it? Are you sure it was money?”

Hannah confirmed it was a penny that she had found earlier and set on the table. And so commenced the course of action most parents would take in this situation – a brief freak-out, followed by a frantic Google search.

Thankfully, there was plenty of information on the topic, as “swallowed a penny when will it pass” appears to be a commonly searched phrase for the overly cautious and Google-obsessed moms like myself. The most trusted sources said to wait it out – it would most likely pass on its own. If it didn't after several days, you might want to go in for x-rays to make sure it's moving through the system, but kids swallow stuff all the time. It was a relief to see that a swallowed coin was not a reason to worry.

Unless it was a penny minted after 1982.

Pennies minted before 1982 are completely fine because they're made of copper, but pennies minted after 1982 are made of mostly zinc, which reacts to the stomach's acid and can potentially cause ulcers. (Rare, but a possibility.)

Great. Since I didn't exactly get a chance to check the date on the coin before my child decided to shove it in his mouth, there was no way of knowing if this was just a harmless penny or a stomach-eating death ray making its way through my precious baby's body.

All we could do was wait it out and keep an eye on him. He continued to act normal (normal being the equivalent of a jackrabbit hyped up on a few shots of espresso), so I tried not to worry. I wanted to make sure the foreign object came out though, so I wasn't looking forward to what I would have to do.

The first poop check was awful. It was one of those that looks innocent enough but packs a stench strong enough to knock down anyone within a 20-ft radius. And thank God for disposable gloves because if I'd had to perform that task without them, I might not have ever recovered.

No dice.

I had to wait two more days for another opportunity, all the while thinking we'd have to take him in if we didn't hit the jackpot soon. I was hoping the Raisin Bran was doing its job.

Finally, on the third day after the incident, I found him on the potty once again (he doesn't tell me when he needs to go because he needs his 'pwivacy') and got some plastic bags ready for some more gold panning. You would think that locating something that doesn't belong would be simple, but I almost didn't see the stupid thing. One final mush and at last, there it was – the Lincoln Memorial smiling up at me from a pile of poo.

So relieved, I washed it thoroughly and took a picture on my phone to send to Clint. My dad was at the house visiting, and, having the bizarre sense of humor he does, begged me to first send a picture of a rock and a crayon smothered in peanut butter with the caption “Well, we didn't find the penny, but...”

So I, having inherited the bizarre sense of humor, said “crunchy or creamy?”

After it was all said and done, I was glad to come away with the knowledge that kids really are pretty resilient and a thankfulness that our bodies are so efficiently designed.

And I did send Clint a text of our new keepsake with an important caption.
why must kids put everything in their mouths
1972, baby.