All in a day’s work

As I’ve expressed before, I usually don’t feel like I have things very much together.  I often feel like I’m just barely managing the frenetic and delicate choreography of life with kids, and I think I’m usually the least likely mom to pull off something difficult with grace and ease.  Which makes it all the more impressive when I actually manage to.

Easter in Austria always means a long weekend for us.  Dan gets Good Friday and Easter Monday off of work (the latter is also a school holiday) so we get a four day weekend to color eggs, be festive for Easter and enjoy spring.  Our plans for last Friday were to color eggs and to finish up the few last-minute Easter preparations still to be taken care of.  I hadn’t been able to find the egg dye we’d used so successfully last year, but I found another type.  For this kind, the eggs needed to still be warm from boiling while being dyed, so Friday morning I set about boiling 20 eggs while Dan took the boys out to the courtyard downstairs to run off some steam.  (We figured they’d do better at not having egg-dyeing meltdowns if they weren’t too keyed up.)


The egg dye I was able to find this year

All was well, and the water was just about to boil, when Dan came in with both boys amidst a bunch of commotion.  Liam was very upset, as was Benjamin.  It turns out that while outside playing, Liam had managed to put a rock up his nose, and he was (understandably) not happy that it was not as easy to get out as it had been to get in.

Even after 5 1/2 years as parents, this was our first something-in-the-nose experience.  Dan assured me he had things under control as I attempted to figure out whether to try and save the eggs or to ditch them and take over with Liam.  I called out advice from the kitchen while Dan came up with a series of ideas about how to remove the rock.  (My main advice was, “I think he needs to see the doctor”, while Dan was sure he could address the problem at home.)  I left the eggs on the stove, set a timer, and tried to help . . . mostly at first by reiterating that I thought it was time for a professional.  Our regular pediatrician is (of course) out of town, but after a few minutes I persuaded Dan to call the backup doctor, just to find out what she suggested.  No answer.  I vetoed Dan’s ideas of using tweezers to remove it (sticking something ELSE in his nose did not seem like the solution to me) and I was on the verge of making a command decision that it was time for a trip to the ER when we decided to settle our debate the modern way . . . with the internet!

Liam's nose rock and a coin for perspective (a 2 cent Euro coin is about the size of a US penny)

Liam’s nose rock and a coin for perspective (a 2 cent Euro coin is about the size of a US penny)

We looked up how to remove a rock from a child’s nose and found this.  (Don’t read it if you’ll be bothered by being a little grossed out.)  We decided that we would try it, and if it failed, we would take the trip to the hospital.  So, although Liam was NOT into the idea, we held him down, and I . . . fixed the problem.  It actually worked!  Liam was a bit shaken from the whole experience, but otherwise completely well, and with a good life lesson learned.  I gave him a big snuggle and reassured him that he would be fine.  He recovered quickly, and went right back to playing.  (When I looked up the link, I was looking at my phone, so I didn’t see the suggestion of actually performing the procedure AT the hospital.  I’m really glad everything turned out ok.)

And I got back to the eggs before the timer went off.

I have to say that I kind of felt like a kickass mom.  Rock taken out of the nose and eggs boiled for dyeing, all at the same time.  We went on to have a fun and festive Friday, everyone was well, and I pretty much felt like I saved the day.



Pain is an effective teacher.  No matter how many times you are warned that something will hurt, nothing will drive that message home like experiencing it for yourself.

Benjamin got one of those lessons this evening.  He reached out a touched a light bulb at the restaurant where we were having dinner.  I didn’t see it in time to warn him about this particular one (he climbed up onto the bench seat in the restaurant and the very first thing he did was reach out and touch the light in the shelf behind his seat) but I’ve warned him many, many times about that kind of thing before.  (The light bulb was easily within his reach — it is a setup you would probably not see in the States particularly due to the litigation potential in exactly this kind of situation.)


My poor guy.  It hurt.  He cried.  We rinsed it in cold water and put a cold compress on it.  I held him all through dinner and the entire way home.  He has a blister now, and, of course (good lesson or not) I’m worried about him and I don’t want him to be hurt.  We called the doctor and we’re going to see her tomorrow.  It’s hard to see him be hurt, but I imagine he’ll be unlikely to repeat this particular mistake again in the future — less likely, evidently, than my repeated warnings caused him to be.  If I could magically accept all the pain he will ever experience in his life and suffer it myself, I would gladly do so, but life just doesn’t work that way.  Benjamin will have to, eventually, be the one in charge of the decision of whether or not to touch light bulbs, along with so many other things (which will just keep me up all night worrying if I try to create a list).

I know that I can’t protect him from everything.  I will continue to do the best that I can, and hope that when something slips through the cracks, that maybe there’s at least a lesson in there somewhere.  (I really, really hope there is.)