My five-year-old daughter woke me up at four o’clock in the morning. She was crying about her Barbie puzzle. I asked if she had a bad dream. It was hard to tell what she was saying. It was something like this:
“I ‘wallowed a puzzle.”
I looked around the bedroom. No puzzle anywhere. “What about you puzzle?”
She’s got a lisp. She said, “I ‘wallowed it.”
“Wait. You SWALLOWED a puzzle piece?”
I frantically checked her over. “Are you okay? Did you choke?”
But, I’m thinking to myself, “How in the heck did she manage to swallow a puzzle piece?” They’re not small. It’s a 24 piece puzzle. The pieces are like an inch and a half square.
I make sure she’s breathing okay, and I put her back in bed. She’s kid #4 for me. We’ve been through this swallowing thing before (three times, to be exact). As long as the kid is breathing and whatever she swallowed isn’t poisonous, poison control will tell you to watch the stool and make sure she passes it. So far I’ve had to watch stool for a dime, a pen cap and a penny.
I climb back into bed thinking, “Great, now I have to spend the next three days checking poop for puzzle pieces.”
I doze off, and here comes my daughter again, crying hysterically. “Will I get it back?”
I lead her down the hallway to her room. “You don’t want it back now. It will come out in your poo. Go to sleep. We can buy a new puzzle.”
Back to bed. Doze off. Daughter reappears at my side, crying again. “What if they don’t have that kind?”
Did I mention it’s four in the morning? “Just go to sleep,” I said. “We’ll talk about it in the morning.”
Finally, she goes to bed and sleeps until morning. When my husband gets up for work, I explain to him what happened. And, now that I’m fully awake and it’s daylight, the whole thing seems absurd. How could she have possibly swallowed a puzzle piece?
When she got up, I asked my daughter, “Did you go to bed with the puzzle piece in your mouth?”
“Maybe you just had a nightmare?” I asked.
“No, I ‘wallowed it.”
“How did it get in your mouth?”
She said she didn’t know. “Will you buy me a new one?”
Hey, it’s from the dollar store. New puzzle? No problem.
The problem is whether or not she actually swallowed it. I think she dreamed the whole thing. She doesn’t even know where all the pieces to this Barbie puzzle are. Judging from her reaction, she was far more concerned about losing a piece to the puzzle than she was about swallowing it. I suppose the “easy” answer is to just keep checking the toilet, but honestly, I don’t think I’m ever going to find it.
What do you think? Truth or nightmare?