I'm watching FRIENDS with Special Edition while the kids are doing afternoon chores and chasing around the new kitten (oh, yeah, we have a new one of those, too), and doing some editing in the midst of all this. (I can multi-task.)
Middle walks in. "Mommy?"
Oh dear. I know that tone. "Yes?"
"I think I have a shell—you know, one of those really little ones?—stuck in my ear." Middle shook her head, looking for all the world like she was trying to knock water out of her ear.
Or a tiny shell.
Hubby's sister and brother-in-law had given the girls some necklaces made with teeny tiny shells several years ago. At least one of them had broken, so occasionally we find itty bitty shells kicking around the house.
"You stuck a shell in your ear," I said carefully.
"I don't know. I think so. I had it on my finger, and had to scratch my ear—"
Migraine salute, you're on deck. This one's gonna be a doozy.
"You didn't take it off first?" I guessed.
"I thought I did, but then I scratched my ear, and now it feels like there's something in there."
"Oookay." I heaved myself up off the couch. "Let's go check."
Several years ago, I found a "Doctor Mom" otoscope at Walmart and decided it was well worth the $25 or so I spent for it. With kids prone to ear infections, it seemed wise to have something that could help me rule out ear infections before having to go to the urgent care. It's turned into a very useful purchase.
So I strode into the kitchen and pulled out my otoscope. I clicked on the light, flipped the scope, and went to peer into her ear...
I didn't really need the scope.
That tiny shell was stuck right there, fairly obviously, and thankfully not so far in that this would require an ER trip.
I fetched a box of toothpicks from the pantry and fished one out. Maybe...just maybe...I could pop that thing out without requiring medical intervention. (I hadn't been so lucky with the popcorn kernel, but had been with the silly band.)
"Okay, hold still."
"A toothpick?" Middle said skeptically.
"Yes, I'm going to try to get the shell out without having to take you to the doctor." I carefully angled the toothpick between her ear and the shell.
"Sorry." I angled Middle's head and held it firmly, preparing for my next attempt.
The shell had pushed a little further into the ear, but I tamped down the panic. I could actually see a good spot to wedge the toothpick between shell and ear...and hopefully...
"Got it!" I announced as the tiny seed shell popped out of Middle's ear canal and stopped in her earlobe. From there, I was able to flick it into my hand.
"Please don't stick any more shells in your ears, okay?"
Middle nodded and picked up the shell.
I went back to the den, FRIENDS, and work, shaking my head.
You know, I thought we were past this stage of sticking foreign objects into body orifices.