19 Mar have you ever lost a quarter?
Have you ever lost one in your toddler’s stomach?
A few weeks ago, Miles approached Kris very distraught. “I swallowed a quarter and it went down,” he pointed to his stomach and started sobbing.
“How do you know it was a quarter? What did it look like? Could it have been a dime? A penny?”
Miles explained that it was not a penny. It was bigger, “with an eagle on it and a man.”
It was the same kind of quarter Miles fishes from his piggy bank to use in the vending machines at Daddy’s office. He knew what he was talking about.
I was out with B at swim practice, so Kris called me to tell me the news. Miles wasn’t choking, wasn’t in pain. He was just emotionally upset. So Kris called the pediatrician, who suggested we wait, give him some extra fiber, and look for the quarter to emerge in a few days.
Here’s the part where I have to brag, just a little, because the truth is, we haven’t dealt with diapers or poop or even wiping bottoms since Miles was 2 and a half. Miles is a private kid. He decided to take care of his own potty training with very little guidance from us.
He was making up for it now, though. Because…have you ever searched for a coin in your kid’s poop? It’s as awful as you imagine.
And he continued to go twice per day, more with the fiber supplement.
But no quarter emerged.
After about three days of this, we called the pediatrician again, and after assessing that Miles was in no discomfort, no stomach pain, no trouble eating or pooping, she said we should wait longer. I told her we were traveling to visit my brother and sister-in-law and their new baby boy in a couple days. Should I worry about travel?
“Uh, is it possible he’ll set off the metal detector at the airport?” I asked. We laughed, but then, I said, “no, REALLY. Am I going to have to explain this to the TSA??”
“It’s possible,” the pediatrician said.
Two days later, and still NO CHANGE.
I held my breath as we approached the scanner. Kris and I travel with the kids a fair amount, and we’re proud of the efficiency with which we proceed through security lines. I love how business travelers glare at us, expecting two toddlers to slow them down. But usually we glide right on by them. No hiccups.
This time was no different. Except, I was sweating. Kris and I were exchanging worried glances. But Miles walked right through the metal detector without even a blip.
Is the machine not that sensitive? Or did the quarter actually pass and we missed it?
Turns out, we may never know. We continued to monitor his bathroom time on our vacation, but less carefully than at home, as you can imagine. We never saw the quarter, and once we reached the two week mark, we just sort of gave up.
I was talking with a friend about the whole thing and she remarked that I seemed so calm, so unaffected by the ordeal. She said she would have immediately gone to the ER for an X-ray and quarter-extraction. She wasn’t judging me…just commenting on how differently we handle toddler emergencies. Another friend said she wouldn’t have panicked, but she would hold onto low-level anxiety for years, and any time her kid acted weird or misbehaved or failed a class in school, she’d blame the damned quarter still floating around in his system.
I think it’s easy to be calm because Miles is acting normal. He’s not showing any signs of sickness or distress… and furthermore, our pediatrician seems calm. I thought at age 4 1/2 we were beyond the “swallowing stuff” phase, but through this experience I’m hearing story after story of kids as old as 10 ingesting Legos and thumbtacks and marbles. Not to mention all the things I’m hearing that kids will stuff up their noses and into their ears.
And I do like the idea that forever more, if anything goes awry with Miles, we can always blame the quarter. Can’t we?