Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Motherhood FAIL of the Week: For the Love of Pens

The Muffin Man is obsessed with pens.  I don't know why he happens to be so in love with writing implements, but given the choice between a fine point Bic and an age-appropriate toy, he will, without fail, choose the pen.  I wish I could tell you that I've been a vigilant parent and haven't allowed him to indulge his marker fetish, but the truth is that I've been pretty laissez-faire about the whole thing and haven't enforced a "no pens for Noah" policy.  I've been careful not to let him have any pens with small caps that could be easily swallowed and lead to a visit to the good ol' Cedars Sinai ER, but I did indulge his proclivity with a perfectly safe, tightly-sealed orange highlighter that seemed to be harmless (i.e. no sharp nibs that could lead to the loss of an eye or an easily removable cap).

This approach worked well for us for a while, as it avoided Noah standing at my desk throwing tantrums while pointing at the pen jar and screaming "mine, mine, mine" or "that, that, that".  I'd actually been feeling extremely proud of myself for my ingenuity in finding a pen-shaped item that kept my son happy but also prevented me from having to follow him around like a low-hovering traffic copter.  Well my friends, as if to prove once again that my Mothering instincts are far below an acceptable, non-danger causing threshold, Monday morning I came this close to having to perform an emergency tracheotomy with a kitchen knife.  Somehow, despite my taping the cap onto his orange highlighter, my child managed to disengage the top and put it in his gaping maw.  I'm not quite sure how I didn't notice that he'd scraped off the roll of tape I'd wrapped around the stupid thing, but in my defense I was only two sips into my first cup of coffee and I am not a morning person.  Thankfully, I did see that Noah was up to no good before he finished his breakfast of marker top, so I leapt to my feet, grabbed him with both hands and performed the incredibly useful "turn them upside down and slap them on the back" maneuver.  (New and prospective parents, if you haven't learned this lifesaving trick I urge you to watch a YouTube video now and practice.  I promise you, it will come in handy, probably more than you ever imagined.)  The cap shot straight out of Noah's mouth like a champagne cork, he screamed bloody murder, and I collapsed on the couch exhausted from my one hour of high-intensity mothering.

Now, of course, I can't allow Noah to play with pens.  Honestly, this is akin to attempting to wean a heroine addict off of the smack.  He sweats, he shakes, he stands at my desk eyeing the cup of pens for hours on end and wailing over the loss of his oh-so-precious vice.  I contemplated letting him have his beloved orange highlighter without the top, but my home decor really can't withstand any more abuse, and I feel as though it's simply enabling his addiction.  So he's been forced to quit the Pentels cold turkey. It's certainly not been pleasant, and I think we have quite a few days of wailing and possible sleep regression in our future, but in the end it will be worth it.  Just as long as he doesn't trade his pen obsession for something even more dangerous; remind me to make sure the baby lock is working on the drawer holding the butter knives.


  1. Whoa! I know that feeling all to well of jumping and grabbing your kid, turning him over and slapping the heck out of his back to dislodge something in their throat.

    I agree with you and recommend all parents to take a first aid/CPR class.

    1. Best thing I ever learned was that football hold on a choking toddler!


This site was made with love by Angie Makes