By Anita Doberman: Lifestyles Columnist
My 3-year-old, Eva, is a funny child. She likes to make people laugh and imitate cartoon characters. She is fairly calm and isn’t the one getting hurt jumping off the couch like her 4-year-old sister, or eating marbles like her 14-month-old bother.
Perhaps this is why I overlooked certain clues in the last two weeks.
Eva seemed to have a cold, with a legitimate runny nose and congestion, though mostly only on one side. I gave her cold medicine at night and assumed the redness would soon subside.
At the same time, I noticed her hands often smelled terrible. I assumed that because I recently potty trained her, she was particularly interested in her underpants and the newfound freedom to reach her own bottom, and I would often see her walking around with two hands firmly grabbing her butt. Over and over, I washed her hands and told her to keep them out of her undies. But no matter how hard I scrubbed, the smell wouldn’t go away.
On Sunday morning I was washing her hands and face, when I noticed that the foul smell was coming from her incessantly runny nose.
I called a friend of mine, who has two active boys, and explained the situation. She immediately said, “I bet she stuck something in her nose. Go look.”
I looked up her nose with a flashlight and saw something purple. Knowing I would save us both a lot of pain if I could solve this safely myself, I grabbed a pair of tweezers.
“All right, sweetie, there is something in your nose. I have to take it out. It’s not going to hurt.” She wasn’t convinced, arguing, “I like my nose like this,” but I persisted, explaining that if she didn’t let me try, we would have to go to the hospital.
To my shock a little candy marshmallow came out of her nose.
I have no idea when Eva jammed that thing up her nose, and she had no recollection of ever putting it up there. And to cap off what had already been a disgusting moment in parenthood, my overweight pug got hold of the rancid sugar-booger and happily gobbled it.
I felt like such a terrible parent for scolding her and repeatedly telling her to wash her stinky hands, then giving her cold medicine, and never putting two and two together.
I made sure to tell her not to put anything in her nose from now on, and I called the pediatrician to make sure she was OK. He told me to watch her for a couple days, and if her nose was back to normal, she was good to go. With some saline spray and a couple tissues, the smell was gone, and the redness disappeared the next day.
Soon after, Eva came up to me, hands outstretched, and said, “Look, Mommy, I am putting my hands on my butt and it doesn’t smell. Smell mommy.” I couldn’t help but laugh as I reminded her that it was still not OK to put her hands on her bottom.