We were at my 6-year-old’s violin lesson when I noticed my 4-year-old tugging on his ear.
“What’s wrong with your ear?” I whispered.
“WHAT?” came the loud response. “My EE-YUH.”
“Yes, you’re ear,” I whispered again. “What’s wrong with it?”
“Dis is my EE-YUH,” he said-shouting again. “I fink it’s stuck. Does a fiyuh-twuck have six wheels, or three wheels?”
So I dropped it. You have to know when to let the conversation go. With 4-year-olds, this is often.
“SIX WHEELS OR THREE WHEELS?” he persisted.
The ear tugging continued after class.
“Does your ear hurt?” I asked him, dreading another ear infection.
“It’s just a rock,” he said.
“A rock? What do you mean, a rock?”
“It’s just a wittle rock.”
“Did you put a ROCK in your ear?” My voice was shrill.
He smiled. “I just put it in dere.”
A lengthy interrogation revealed he picked up the rock while in the parking lot, and put it into his ear because, why not? He told me it didn’t hurt, just felt funny, and always the same ear.
“It’s just going to come out da uh-ver side,” he indicated his other ear. “I fink it will come out lay-tuh.”
So I called the pediatrician’s office, like you do, and I told the receptionist my 4-year-old put a rock in his ear because he thought it would come out the other side. She laughed, apologized for laughing, and scheduled him to be seen within the hour.
“So. You picked up a rock and put it into your ear?” I asked as we drove to the office. “Why would you do that?” (For future reference, don’t ask this question. There is no good answer.)
“It was just invisible.”
“It was an invisible rock, and I picked it up, and I put it in my ear, and it went into my bwain hahahaha hahahaha.”
“What do you mean, invisible?”
“REAL OR INVISIBLE??!!”
He let out a frustrated sigh. “It’s REAL, but it’s INVISIBLE.”
Of course it is. We arrived at the office and were ushered into an exam room.
“So it’s still in there?” I asked as we waited.
“I just TOLD you, it went into my bwain! It was in dere, and den it comed out. And the dinosaur toy doesn’t have any batteries. I took off da back, and now I can’t find dem, and it won’t go.”
Just…HUH? It’s like trying to have a conversation with a drunk person.
“Why are your kids always putting rocks in their ears?” the pediatrician asked as he entered the exam room. For those keeping score at home, this is my second child to have a rock in the ear, and Dr. B removed that one like a champ. The man’s skills are legit.
I mentioned the invisible rock. He laughed and looked in both ears, shone a light down the 4-year-old’s throat, and looked in both ears again.
“Nope,” he said. “No rock. It’s invisible.”
The office refunded my copay because they’re awesome like that, and we headed home.
“You can’t put invisible rocks in your ear, OK?” I told my son on the drive home. “Or real rocks, for that matter. Or anything. Don’t put anything into your ears, ever.”
“Not even a bwidge?”
“Not even a bridge.”
“Not even a car?”
“You can’t put an invisible bwidge in your ear, not if it has real cars on it.” He cracked up laughing.
You can’t argue with logic like that. Motherhood is nothing, if not entertaining.
(Betsy Swenson can be reached at email@example.com.)