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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

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