These kids of mine and their shenanigans, though. Sheesh. They're getting really hilarious and frustrating. They're already way smarter than my dog in most ways, which makes me disappointed in Stella, who is much older than them. She'll do something like get trapped between a toy stroller and a cardboard box and then freak out and skitter around on the hardwood floors and crash into walls and I'll be all, "What the HELL, Stella?! These kids are half your age and they've got more sense than you!" And then I feel bad for being disappointed in her, because she's, you know, a dog, and one with some very real developmental and emotional issues.
But the kids still do stuff sometimes that I think even Stella would realize is a bad idea.
The other day, for example, the girls were playing while I was puttering around in the kitchen, trying to get some dinner going before their mom got home. Since they don't have any actual toys, they like to play with household objects like rubber bands, ribbon, tupperware, and recently, coffee beans. They're fascinated by the coffee making process that happens several times a day in our house, and started demanding beans for themselves.
What harm could there possibly be in letting them play with a couple of them? I mean, I'm not an idiot. I only let them play with the decaf beans that we keep around for when weird guests who are into that kind of thing come over. I don't let them use the good stuff as little people to populate their garbage can "boats" and six-pack box "houses."
So I'm trying to get dinner on, when Butterbean comes up to me with her finger on the side of her nose.
"It's deep, deep inside, Daddy," she says.
The girls are such little bookworms, they're always quoting from their favorite stories. I'll hear them in the nursery (a.k.a. "walk-in closet"), talking to each other when they're supposed to be sleeping, and one of them will start a conversation with, "Can I ask you a question?" That's a line from The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog, one that's been in heavy rotation for the last few months. The "deep, deep inside" quote comes from Bark George, a story about a puppy who needs to have a lot of livestock extracted from deep, deep inside of him before he can bark properly.
So I'm all, "WHAT's deep, deep inside, Boo? Deep inside WHERE?" But I knew. I knew it was a goddamn coffee bean. In her nose.
In fact, I had almost written on Twitter, "I predict that 2012 will be the year when one of my kids will insert a coffee bean into her nose" just moments before. Yes, I give my kids coffee beans to play with even though I know it's a bad idea, and I leave my laptop open on the kitchen counter so I can sneak away and goof around on the internet while they're amusing themselves. Like you don't.
And of course, as I'm feeling around the outside of her nose, the dog goes bounding through the house to greet Dr. Mom, who is just then returning from work to not only the usual chaos, but also the prospect of performing a medical procedure on her own child.
I tell my wife about the situation, and start asking how we get the thing out. I've actually discussed this kind of thing with her before, because I love to hear about weird things she has extracted from patients' orifices at work. So I know that often these cases have to go to Ear, Nose, and Throat specialists.
But I can feel the bean, and even see the tip of it protruding from the nostril. We have to be able to grab it with tweezers or something.
And then, before my wife can even get a good look at it, I kind of squeeze the part of Butterbean's nose where the bean is at its deep, deep, deepest. And the bean shoots out onto the floor.
We have a very serious talk with the girls about not putting things in their noses, and then we sit down to eat.
Throughout dinner, Butterbean fusses with her nose, sticking her fingers in it, saying "I have boogers," and demanding that Mom "poke my nose" with a kleenex rolled into an excavating tool. We figure that her nose must be irritated and maybe there's some oil from the coffee bean in there. The tissues Mom sticks in her nose come out smudged with brown.
After dinner, it's "rain shower time," and the kids do their nightly screaming and splashing routine. We decide to give Butterbean a nose-douche, as she's still complaining about the irritation in her nose. You might know the nose-douche by it's other name, the "Neti pot." I'm a big fan of nasal irrigation, but I prefer the more aggressive squirt-bottle technique to to the gentle pouring-a-tiny-teapot-into-your-nose gig, especially when my nose is filled with sawdust and remodeling filth. I knew the kid wouldn't stand still, much less tilt her head to the side to receive the gentle version, so we would have to go with the squirt-bottle.
So I squirt the saline solution into her left nostril, and it goes streaming out of her right nostril, which is what it's supposed to do. She screams in protest, of course. Then I squirt into the right nostril, and it trickles slowly out of the left.
Then the floodgates burst. A small, dark missile launches out of her left nostril and clicks, bouncing off the tile floor of the shower. Butterbean is crying hard now, and my wife and I are incredulous. Cramming one coffee bean up her nose was not quite satisfying enough, so she had to send another after it.
I hold up the offending bean and ask, "What were you thinking, kiddo? I mean, Stella wouldn't even do that."
She just reaches for my hand, wailing, "I WANT MY COFFEE BEAN!"