Poor Charlie. He was thrown too easily when he was tiny. If his world wasn’t consistent or if something unusual happened, it threw him off, messed with his composure and security. And he didn’t always communicate easily. I had to figure out how to wheedle out of him what he was thinking, what was bothering him, what he needed. It’s tough, but a mom’s challenge is to know her kids well enough to meet them where they are, to understand their unique qualities in order to provide for their particular needs.
One day I was in the kitchen when Charlie came from playing in his room looking wide-eyed and worried. He was very reticent. It took a lot of work to get out of him why he was so sheepish. When finally he started to put words to his distress, he almost kind of suggested maybe something had happened. Maybe, just maybe, he’d swallowed a coin. He wasn’t sure. He might have been lying on his back, looking at a penny, and possibly he might have dropped it, and it might have disappeared. It took a LOT of coaxing to get enough of the story out of him, that he thought it might have fallen into his mouth and maybe, just maybe, it had gone down his throat.
He wasn’t in any respiratory distress (plenty of emotional distress though: pennies weren’t supposed to be eaten—he knew that), so I didn’t think it had gone into his airway. But I wasn’t sure if it was okay to leave a penny inside of him. Would it corrode? Give him copper poisoning? Get stuck? I called the pediatrician just to be certain. Well, he wanted to make sure it wasn’t in his bronchus or lodged in his esophagus, so we had to get an x-ray. Sure enough, staring out on the x-ray, there was Abe Lincoln mugging for the camera in Charlie’s stomach.
Doctor’s orders were to be certain Abe didn’t stay inside, that he passed. That meant stool checks. Every time Charlie pooped, I had to search it and see if Abe was there. Jason would come home at the end of the day and ask, “Any sign of Abe?” or call from work to check, “Did Abe come to visit yet?” When I was about done with the whole popsicle stick and collection bucket scene, Abe finally decided to appear. What a relief! We could go back to normalcy and stop playing in poop every day. And give up any hope of Charlie growing up to be a numismatist.
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