Tonight I had the pleasure of using one of the many phone numbers posted on a magnet on my fridge. Pizza delivery? Nope. Real Estate agent? Nope.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first time I’ve sought out that magnet.
My little guy, M. finished his bath and ran downstairs while I was helping my big guy, JC, with his shower. My husband, J., followed M. downstairs, but in the two or three minutes M. was alone, he managed to find a package of brightly colored “candy” on the kitchen counter.
J. yelled that he “needed me,” which usually means somebody spilled something. “Okay,” I yelled, as I dilly-dallied upstairs, until J. yelled more urgently, “I NEED YOU.”
It’s nice to be needed.
I came downstairs to find J. wiping out M.’s mouth (his tongue and teeth were blue tinted), with a dishtowel. Wonderful.
After some detective work (“Why is the counter rainbow colored?”) and recollection (“How long was he down here alone?” “What exactly did you see?”), we figured out that M. had eaten the “Color Tablets” from his brother’s Fizz-ologist Science Kit. Sigh.
M. looked fine, despite the blue teeth. JC spewed out reasons why he was not to blame in this scenario. J. looked to me as if I was the expert in Fizz-ology and Blue Teeth. I had nothing, so I found the magnet and called Poison Control.
Since I didn’t feel that M.’s ingestions of Fizz-ology Color Tablets warranted a “life-threatening emergency,” I listened to the recording as I waited for my “Poison Expert” to take my call. Briefly, I wondered if I’d be worried if my husband was a Poison Expert. He’d be able to do me in without leaving a trace. Then I wondered if Poison Experts made good money, and if the job required a chemistry degree. Were all employees of the Poison Control Center “experts,” or did the title require specialized training? Things that make me go … hmmmmmm……
Anyway, my Poison Expert picked up the line, and he was a Dude. Our conversation went something like this:
PE: How can I help you?
Me: Um. I think my kid ate color tablets? They kind of look like the ones in the Easter egg kits.
PE: Did he swallow them?
I didn’t know.
Me: No, I think he spit them out.
I did see some on the counter, half dissolved in the rainbow-colored smear, presumably from M.’s saliva.
PE: Do you know the ingredients?
Me: Um. They came from a science kit. Let me check the box.
At this point, I grabbed the Fizz-ology box and read PE the name of the company who made the kit, and the contents of the sticker on the envelope containing the color tablets.
Me: Color Tablets. Contact with eyes may cause irritation.
I left out the sentences that said, “Keep out of reach of children. Adult supervision required.” I figured he already knew that this directive had been violated.
PE: I’m not finding anything about the product, but I think he’ll be okay. You rinsed out his mouth and gave him something to drink, right?
No. Hadn’t done that.
PE: Just keep an eye on him. If he complains about irritation, get him checked out. How old is he?
PE: Did he tell you why he ate them?
Me: He said they looked like candy.
Lie. M. has autism. He doesn’t say much.
PE: Yeah, as long as he didn’t swallow any, I think he’s good. The Easter egg kit tablets are okay. I don’t know exactly, since I don’t know the ingredients of the tablets he tried, but I think he’s good. What’s his name?
I told him.
PE: What’s your name?
I briefly wondered if I should lie to throw family services off my trail, but I told the truth. I expected a lecture about my parenting skills, or a referral number for classes I should take, but didn’t get any of that. Surprisingly, Poison Experts are not judgmental! I had enough guilt and self-judgment for both of us, I guess.
It wasn’t my first call to Poison Control, and I am sure it won’t be my last. No matter how many times I tell my kids that only food goes in their mouths, they insist on experimenting. In M.’s defense, the Color Tablets did look like candy. I should have realized that and hidden them away from his searching eyes. But I didn’t.
Parenting mistake number one thousand and something. If only I had as many parenting successes!