Best Trick (not) In the Book

6ec7909e0f541727Yesterday was the first day of “summer.” Our once a week homeschool thingy is done. HOORAY! Peace out accountability! Adios deadlines! Catch ya later Bible Memory verses, oh wait.

I was reveling in the lack of stuff to do by pulling all the shoes out from under our bed and wrangling dust buffaloes. Our house cleaners (the second batch) recently dumped us, so our house is getting really…rustic, really fast.

The kids and I had a charming lunch picnic on the front porch. Two sets of neighbors passed by and requested that my kids re-launch their neighborhood newspaper. We chatted about how cool their paper was. It was all very sweet.

After lunch, Finn started eating sunflower seeds hands free. Jo would set one down in a funny spot and then Finn would lean over and pick it up with his mouth. Me, feeling all carefree and summery, joked, “I am going to crack up if you accidentally pick one up with your nose instead of your mouth.” There was a 4 second pause as the ten-year old mind started spinning. Before I could stack the lunch plates, that joker was firing seeds from him nose and cracking himself up.

Then I made a fatal mistake–like running upstairs when the bad guy is chasing you. I left the porch and went to pee. And I didn’t just pee, I did a Facebook pee. You know where you pee for 18 seconds and then read Facebook for 12 minutes. I have also been known to do this while Riley waits to press play on a Netflix show in the living room. Sorry, sweetie. While I updated my Facebook about the silly sunflower game, unbeknownst to me, Jo was joining in the game. Jo is 2.5 years old with the smallest nasal passages of the group. I hear a blood curdling scream. Honestly, I figured someone had just taken something from her, and it was a scream of injustice. Oh no. Everyone with a kernel of sense saw this coming.

The seed was stuck, and the big kids were horrified. They watched me to see how freaked out I was. I handed her a Kleenex and told her to blow. No change. I plugged her other nostril and had her blow again. No change. Then I went on a hunt for the tweezers, and found them in record time. (see previous blog post re. tweezers and give me a back-pat for having it together). We put Jo on the bed. Finn held the flashlight (I don’t think he was the best choice, I’ll remember that next time), Charlotte held Jo’s head, I pinned her arms, and Levi spoke to Jo in a very high-pitched and patronizing voice about how it was going to be okay. This was one of those big family for the win moments. Everyone had a critical role to play.

I saw the base of the sunflower shell, and man, it was up there. The tweezers suddenly looked so sharp and shiny and pointy as I stuck them up her nose. I felt the tweezer tips touch the seed but they couldn’t grasp the end of the shell. I then thought I could move the seed down her nose from the outside. That was a terrible idea and made Jo super mad. I briefly thought that if she was panting, snorting, raging mad, that might help dislodge the seed. We returned to the nose blowing, and the kids started to get worried. I assured them it was going to be fine. I texted Riley so he could know what great stuff was happening at home.

I figured I should punt to the pediatrician on this one because they are in walking distance, and I was sure they have a rockin’ grabber and it would be scary enough to deter all the children from doing this again, and it would be easy. Nope. They had no appointments at our office, but I could drive across town, over a collapsed highway and head home during rush hour. Time to search the internet. I read a few things that I had already tried, and then decided to leave a charming and likable message with the nurse. Maybe she would squeeze us in, or tell me the seed could just stay up there, or offer to pull the thing out in the parking lot before she left for the night. I am not really sure what I had in mind. We tried blowing again. We tried grabbing it again. After about 30 minutes the nurse called. We laughed about my predicament and she told me they had just pulled something out of a toddler’s nose about 2 hours before. She then told me she had a crazy suggestion. I giggled and told her, I was pretty sure that I wouldn’t think it was crazy. Grab your pen and paper folks. This is where it gets good. She told me to plug her clear nostril, have her open her mouth, and blow into her mouth with some force. I told the big kids I was going to try something funny to get the seed out. They all wanted to know what, so I took them out of the room and told them the plan. They were intrigued. I turned on PBS and told Jo to open her mouth. She smiled, and I closed that nostril and BLEW! The seed and a wad of snot came shooting out onto my cheek! It was magic. Save the day magic. Now a few questions linger. WHY WASN’T THIS ON THE INTERNET? Why wasn’t this in the baby care class I took before Finn was born? And lastly, Why did I make that joke back on the porch?

5 thoughts on “Best Trick (not) In the Book

  1. Actually Sarah you might not believe this, but I was aware of this technique and forgot about it . I never actually tried this, but I heard a nurse I worked with telling a Mom to try this technique. I hope I keep it in the front of my brain for the next whatever caught in a nostril. Great story and great tip.


  2. Oh my!
    Now it is on the internet, so thank you for saving other people’s babies and sanity.

    I miss you guys. Keep on writing, it’s a magical glimpse into your life. I can’t wait for the school year to be over so we can hang out with the homeschool friends again.


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