Remember the “finger sweep” maneuver from first aid class? It removes a foreign object from the victim’s mouth. I am a fully certified lifeguard (was – it’s expired) and have never had to perform CPR or the Heimlich or anything else. That finger sweep, however, is coming in awfully handy. I was out of practice but by the time Malli perfected his hand-to-mouth coordination, I had perfected my finger sweep. Grab kid by the back of the neck, poke finger into far corner of mouth, sweep over the tongue towards the near corner while you mentally review the child’s recent whereabouts and compile a top ten list of what the object might be, then pull it out. I can get a bead or a coin out of a kid’s mouth in no time flat.
I know of no equivalent maneuver for getting things out of a kid’s nose, however. It turns out this would be a useful skill right about now. When Malli sits down to dinner to discover there are peas and corn on his plate, he launches into his new mantra:
Malli: “No peas and corn in the nose.”
me: “That’s right. No peas and corn in the nose.”
Malli: “Peas and corn in the mouth.”
me: “Yes, peas and corn go in your mouth. They’re for eating”.
Malli, looking very stern, with furrowed brow: “NO peas and corn in the nose. Noooooooo.”
Then, if he’s getting really warmed up, and happens to reflect on an incident last weekend where he joined his sister and his cousin in a dangerous and admittedly unsupervised game, he continues:
Malli: “No marbles in the mouth.”
me: “That’s right. No marbles in your mouth. Where do marbles go?”
Malli: “Marbles in the hand. NO marbles in the mouth. Nooooooo.”
He appears to understand the rules. But after turning my back last night at dinner and then spending 10 minutes consoling him while he cried “sore nose, sore nose” and snorted and suffered until a four-inch spaghetti noodle emerged, I’ve learned that he doesn’t always follow his own advice.