Bodily Orifices

Yesterday I discovered that a gum nut is the perfect fit for a two year old’s nostril. Princess Toddler has recently discovered the joys of bodily orifices, in particular the nose. Since finding out about this hole she has spent many joyful hours sticking her finger up one nostril, or two nostrils, or both. It stands to reason then that she came up to me late in the afternoon and said, with a huge degree of pride in her effort, “Gum nut up ‘a nose Mum.”

But she was soon to discover, as was I, that sticking a gum nut up your nose is not a pleasant experience. As I stared up her tiny nose the gum nut was clearly visible. Thinking it would be easy to eject, and thankful that my fingernails hadn’t gone the chop yet, I stuck my finger up her nose and tried to flick it out. But as it turned out a gum nut up the nose makes a very firm and snug fit inside a young nostril. Not beaten by this gum nut yet, I tried my little finger. No movement. I tried getting her to blow her nose like she does into a tissue but instead Princess Toddler sniffed and only made the gum nut become more firmly wedged up there.

Okay, last resort. I grabbed a pair of tweezers from the bathroom cabinet and gave that a go. Well, this was a halfhearted effort at best because tweezers, though they may appear pretty small, don’t actually fit up a toddler’s nose. One final go at sticking one side of the tweezers up there resulted in a bit of blood, a bit of screaming and a gum nut a bit further up the nose. There was only one thing for it.

It was off to the doctor’s after a brief phone conversation where I said, “Hello, my daughter has a gum nut stuck up her nose. Can I come in?” The quick response was, “Yes, we’re going to have to fit her in. Come down.” Princess Toddler was very pleased to be heading off to the doctor’s and her cries quickly abated (thanks to a well thought out kid’s playroom at the medical centre.)

We walked into the centre and the nurse said, “Is this the pea?” I replied, “Yes, and it’s a gum nut actually.” At which point a teenage boy cracked up in rapturous laughter and loudly exclaimed to his father that my daughter has a gum nut stuck up her nose. After various outcries of laughter and a few stares I made my way gingerly to the waiting area. I tried desperately to concentrate on reading my daughter a story -as though bringing your child to the doctor’s to have a gum nut extracted is the most common thing in the world. It didn’t help though that every few minutes she would cry out, “Have gum nut up ‘a nose.” Thanks for the reminder to everyone seated in the busy room. Can a hole in the ground now open up and swallow me whole?

After a painful 20 minute wait (for me, not her – Princess Toddler was quite content to play with the gum nut up her nose), the doctor called us in. There was no greeting, instead the doctor just looked at us as though we were completely mad until I just blurted out, “She has a gum nut stuck up her nose.” The non-animated reaction was, “Which one?” Thankfully, I had already rehearsed in my mind that it was “Up her left one.” At which point he told me to seat my daughter on the table and disappeared into another room. Trying to act casually I pointed out to Princess Toddler the various sea creatures on the patterned sheet she sat upon.

A few minutes later the doctor reappeared with a long, silver implement that had a small ball on one end. He asked me to lay my daughter down and shone a bright light in her eyes. Great, my daughter hates bright lights – sunshine and fluorescent lighting have her reaching for a pair of sunglasses. This was enough to bring on a fit of crying without the implement coming anywhere near her. Thankfully, the nurse appeared just as I was trying to calm her down.

The doctor instructed the nurse to hold down her arms and told me to hold her tightly across the knees. It seemed a cruel, barbaric technique – like chopping off an arm without anesthetic and telling someone to bite down on a piece of wood. Okay, it wasn’t that bad but to my daughter it certainly was and I admit I was pathetically teary over the whole ordeal. But this doctor was an expert on gum nut removal and a few seconds later out it came. Through her sobs I hear the doctor utter something about how you have to be quick with this type of procedure so holding her down like that was necessary. And that he’s had a “few of those” gum nuts up the nose.

While giving my daughter a hug to try and calm her down he asked if she was too young for jellybeans. Not caring about the vices of lolly eating at this point I replied, “She’d like that.” He handed her two jellybeans. It turned out the nurse was just as sympathetic and produced her own box of jellybeans. The nurse then asked the doctor if there was an item number for that one and he didn’t reveal even a tad of a sense of humour when she said, “Okay, item for gum nut up the nose.” There were a few more jokes about sticking things up the nostril as we headed to reception and I was only half joking when I said that I hoped this trauma would deter her from sticking things up there again. Finally, my daughter and I left the doctor’s, her with four jellybeans held tightly and protectively in her little hands, and me to an awaiting glass of red wine.

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