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My Kid Ate a Metal Ball

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NorEastMom on an untraditional Halloween costume.

child sitting on toilet seat

Here's an idea. Have your child swallow marbles and then shoot them out of his butt! He can be a gumball machine!

That's what we're doing at our house this week, just in time for the holiday. My seven-year-old son has swallowed a metal marble, and now we are all sitting around the potty waiting for him to pass it. He's had two x-rays that show it is safely moving out of his body, but after searching through three bowel movements, we have not found the prize. My son's reaction? Mild amusement. And nothing short of fascination when he shows people his x-rays, the bright spot of the ball midway between his ribcage and pelvis. Of course, the ER doc said comforting things such as, "It should pass without a problem ... but there is that very narrow opening here ... of course going in with a scope to pull it out is an option, but we would wait until he was vomiting blood to do that ..." How reassuring. At this point, my son still hasn't picked up on the seriousness of the situation. He's fidgeting with the dials on all the life support gadgets. I sure wouldn't want to be the next one coding in this room, I think to myself.

So I keep him home from school, because the nurse doesn't get paid enough to dig through children's crap -- really, does anyone? My husband texts me every few hours. "Still waiting for the ball to drop?" Of course, I'm the only one of the pair of us that is thinking, Why is my son not concerned or regretful about this dangerous act? How did I end up raising a son who is seven and swallows a metal ball? Is this the kind of thing that warrants a spanking, and if I spank him, might I jam that thing in his intestines forever? I tried my best to induce fear by telling him,"You could need surgery to get this out." All he said was, "Will I get to wear those shirts where your butt hangs out?" Oy. He also continues to lift one buttock towards his sister and yell, "Hands up or I'll shoot!"

If anyone wants to know -- and I'm sure you do not -- searching through stool is really, really gross. It's much grosser than changing a diaper, and all the cuteness of the baby thing is totally absent. I have a friend who pulled a Snickers wrapper out of her toddler's butt while changing his diaper. It was Halloween time and he had been sneaking into the candy bin. Apparently it was not worth it to ask his mother to open the wrapper, since he knew she'd confiscate it. So, he just engulfed the whole thing. That's a cute story.

With my seven-year-old, though, he doesn't even stick around for the exploration. He flies out of the room after bombing the bowl, yelling, "Ew, I'm getting out of here ... see ya, wouldn't want to be ya." I flat out refuse to feel through it with gloves, fearing they would leak, so I have him go in his sister's baby potty and I squish it with a plastic fork. Eeww. My husband chooses to put like five bags on his hands, dive right in and work it through like silly putty. Eeww again.

I couldn't help but laugh when I finally hit pay "dirt" and felt the ball, becoming victorious in our secret parent game of "Extreme Crapdigger." Hey, we had to add an element of fun to this process. I won a free dinner out. Great, as soon as my appetite returns I'll let you know. And so much for the gumball machine idea for Halloween. I guess I'll have to actually make him a damn costume now.


next: Not So Hysterical Pregnancy
21 comments so far | Post a comment now
khalicoe October 19, 2008, 5:12 PM

You are a riot! I’m a grandma who sees the humor in everything so it’s terrific to see you do, too. I’ll always remember when my pastor’s son, who was about your son’s age or older, swallowed a quarter. He said he was cleaning it..had to have surgery to remove that one! Thank you for a great laugh on a not-so-great day. :)

bob October 19, 2008, 5:23 PM

We thought my daughter ate a rock when she was two. We went to the ER— which was packed with sick people. After about an hour I finally got her to admit that she did not indeed eat the rock. One of the happiest moments of my life was walking out of the ER. I can’t imagine going through what you are. Good Luck!

MaryS.D. October 19, 2008, 9:11 PM

I remember one time my son had gone on vacation with his gradpa to indiana. He ate some watermelon and my dad tells him that when he swallowed a seed he would grow a watermelon in his tummy. He would not let it go until he was allowed to call me. He was in tears but it was hard not to laugh when he said “mom i swallowed a watermelon seed and now im going to have one growing in my tummy.” He was about 6 it was one of the cutest moments he had. ( i know some people will think this isnt very funny but you should have heard him.

MICHELLE October 19, 2008, 10:03 PM

7 SEEMS TO BE THE AGE OF SWALLOWING THOSE METAL MARBLES.
MAGANEX STATED 3 AND UP BUT NO MY SON(7) SWALLOWED IT.
I WAS IN THE SHOWER & HE COMES IN ASKING WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF HE SWALLOWED A METAL BALL. NOT KNOWING HE DID I REPLIED, YOU WILL GET SICK & NEED SURGERY OR POSSIBLY DIE. EVENTUALLY OUT OF FEAR HIS OLDER BROTHER (TOY OWNER) TOLD ON HIM. AFTER THE TEARS FLOWED FROM NOT KNOWING WHICH PART OF THE TOY WAS A MAGNET THE BALL OR THE STICKS. WE FINALLY CALLED THE COMPANY, IT WAS NOT THE BALL! THANK GOD.
THEY RECALLED THE TOY A FEW WEEKS LATER, NOW POSTING THE WARNINGS OF A POSSIBLE CHOCKING HAZARD EVEN FOR OLDER KIDS.
I WOULD NEVER ALLOW HIM TO PLAY WITH ANYTHING NOT AGE APPROPRIATE BUT YOU READ THOSE AGE LABELS & THINK IT’S SAFE. NOT ALWAYS!
SO NOW WE HAVE TO ASK THAT NO ONE BUYS ANY TOYS W/MARBLES FOR THIS FAMILY!
MY OLDER ONE HAS TO SUFFER BUT HE DECLINED THE OFFER OF HE IS WELCOME TO DIG THRU THE POOP NEXT TIME!

ashley October 20, 2008, 8:12 AM

EEEWWWWW!!!!!! My sons poop smells so bad that I can’t even go in the bathroom after him. I can’t imagine having to dig through it. My friend has a son who is autistic and she had to get a giant stool sample and then mix it up in this cup with something. It was so gross. But I have no problem inspecting every poop my 16 month old has. The wide array of colors totally fascinates me and makes my husband puke.

Dorothy October 20, 2008, 8:30 AM

this subject is gross…Keep this stupid “CRAP” to yourselves!

Momma October 20, 2008, 9:27 AM

You are so funny! We’ve all been there, I think (well, most of us). I’m 34, and can still remember my poor mom searching through my “stupid crap” to find a lite-brite (sp?).

Rikki October 21, 2008, 10:00 AM

I find this article to be quite hilarious! I think NorEastMom addressed the situation in a tactful manner considering the subject, and she made it extremely real and entertaining to read with the addition of her sons comments. I laughed out loud about the “He also continues to lift one buttock towards his sister and yell, “Hands up or I’ll shoot!”” line. I am actually going to save this e-mail so my husband can read it!

Debbie October 21, 2008, 10:56 AM

My 5 year old did this SAME thing a couple months ago!! It was a “magnetix’ metal marble - he had three x-rays total and the marble FINALLY came out on DAY 8! It was a long week for me…searching thru poop is do disgusting.

momoftwo October 21, 2008, 6:03 PM

OK, I have not had to search through kid’s poop, but my dog swallowed my engagement ring. I searched through dog poop for 3 days til I got it back! LOL Then I boiled it in amonia to sterilize it before I put it back on!

BHAVNA GHOSH December 18, 2008, 1:28 AM

My son age 7 yrs had swallowed a metal marble. I have done 2 x-rays till date it has not been removed what should i do?

Ruth March 31, 2009, 6:28 PM

I am a researcher on a television special profiling stories about kids who needed medical care b/c they swallowed unusual objects.

The show will include interviews with the doctors and the family as well as x-rays of the child. The stories can be recent or as much as 7 years old (but we’ll need access to the x-rays).

If you are interested in possibly sharing your story, please email me at tvproduction2009@gmail.com ASAP!

Thanks!

Jon Maas April 14, 2009, 6:10 PM

Hello:

My name is Jon and I’m a producer with a one hour documentary for TLC (The Learning Channel).

The scope of the show deals with young children who have swallowed foreign objects (pennies, buttons…anything that is not food)… and were taken to the hospital to recover.

What are we looking for? Parents who are willing to share their story on television. So if you or someone you know has a story like this, let us know!

Please email a brief outline of your story, your contact info, and any questions you might have about this program to our Segment Producer Megan Reeves at megan AT mikemathisprods DOT com .


Thank you so much!

Jon Maas
TLC
Mike Mathis Productions

Mike December 8, 2009, 11:46 AM

I like this post!

Paul Eliasberg December 19, 2009, 12:03 PM

My six year old just swallowed a Brio Labyrinth ball, a metal ball roughly the size of a marble. Most of the stories seem to be reassuring: it will pass. Will check on her to see if she’s breathing all right. Luckily I just read some good advise: put the poo in a sandwich bag. No smell, no mess! Weird that it’s the eldest who’s the first to swallow anything. Her four year old sister and two year old brother haven’t gotten up to anything like this yet…
Thanks
Paul

Have you lost your marbles? January 5, 2010, 4:41 PM

I’m currently waiting for the marble to pass. Two sick days for me and one for my husband. A little tip for future diggers: line the toilet with seran wrap to form a bowl, put the lid down and viola instant access. Pick up wrap and squeeze through poop. I used three pieces to ensure that it doesn’t squeeze through the crack (of the wrap). Hoping to find GOLD!

Mike March 6, 2010, 7:04 AM

I love this article! It’s very interesting!

tiffany June 9, 2010, 9:00 PM

this is tooo funny…but scary too…cus just today my son swallowed a marble and we r worried wats to happen….i didnt rush him to the er…but i am takn him tomoro…so do i hav anythng to worry bout?

Lizzy June 15, 2010, 9:13 AM

I’m still rolling on the floor with laughter - even though this truly isn’t a funny situation. My 9 year old just swallowed a metal marble last night and I’m worried as to what will happen. I guess the worst is that I will get to “dig for gold” over the next few days. Sigh…. Oh the joys of motherhood. Thanks for all the posts.

Laraine July 8, 2010, 3:47 PM

My 7 year old just swallowed a metal marble. I came across your post while looking for some info on kids swallowing stuff.

I was hysterical laughing. I made my husband read it too and he was laughing so hard he had tears coming down his face.

Thank you for adding a little humor to our crappy situation!


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