Don’t Put Peas In Your Ears – Parenting Plights & Delights

Parenting Plights & Delights, Lynn Kelley, Lynn Kelley author, Lynn Kelley children's author, Curse of the Double Digits, Monster Moon mystery series, BBH McChiller

Ah, kids. They say and do the funniest things. And plenty of not-so-funny things. The topic of food conjures up numerous memories in most parents.

There’s an old saying that goes something like this: If you tell children, “Don’t put peas in your ears, they’ll put peas in their ears.” Supposedly putting the idea in their heads makes them want to do it.

I never had a problem with my first three putting things in their ears or their noses. Our fourth child, ‘Sunflower,’ was another story.

When she was two, I packed raisins in her lunch. Below is a note I received from her preschool teacher.

It reads: “Sunflower put raisins up her nose today. I got all I could see and checked her through the day. I haven’t seen anymore. But please check her at home to make sure.” Signed by Ms. Anna

Parenting Plights and Delights, Lynn Kelley, Lynn Kelley author, Lynn Kelley children's author, Curse of the Double Digits, Monster Moon mysteries, BBH McChiller

October 1991

George and I thought it was funny, but we didn’t think she’d do it again. “Didn’t think” being the key words here. She did it two more times at preschool. The third time, Ms. Gayle, the preschool director, asked me to please not pack raisins in Sunflower’s lunch anymore.

Parenting Plights and Delights, Lynn Kelley, Lynn Kelley author, Lynn Kelley children's author, Curse of the Double Digits, Monster Moon mysteries, BBH McChiller, Curse at Zala Manor, Secret of Haunted Bog

‘Sunflower’ – Preschool Days

Not too long after that, Sunflower stuck the rubber eraser from the end of a pencil up her nostril. I tried pushing on it gently to work it out, but it didn’t help. I wasn’t comfortable sticking tweezers up her nose. “Looks like we need to see the doctor.”

I grabbed my purse and keys and she started wailing. “No, no, I don’t want to go to the doctor!” She cried so hard, her nose ran. Lo and behold, the eraser slid right out.

I found a similar story on this post, Peas don’t belong in noses. It’s quite amusing, and so are the comments. Apparently, if you blow into the child’s mouth, it’s supposed to ‘pop’ the pea right out of the child’s nostril, but it didn’t work for this mother.

Objects in orifices aren’t the only problems parents run into concerning kids and food. Here’s a cute story Pat O’Dea Rosen shared with me:

Before my kids started school, I kept strict limits on the number of sweets they ate, and fast-food was a VERY occasional treat. On one such treat day, I collected the food, walked back to our table, and noticed my older daughter was chewing something that looked like gum.

“What’s in your mouth?”


Long story short: It was gum she’d found stuck to the bottom of the table top.

I don’t know about you, but I cringed at the thought of Pat’s little girl chewing ABC (already been chewed) gum. Double yuck!

I remember when my oldest daughter, ‘Tulip,’ was four years old. I had no idea she had a penny in her mouth as she lay on the carpet watching TV. She came over to me, sort of gagging, but she didn’t look panicked.

I asked, “What’s wrong? Are you gonna to throw up?”

She nodded, still not acting alarmed.

“Well, go in the bathroom and throw up, then,” I said.

A few minutes later she returned, looking quite worried. “Mom, I swallowed a penny. It was stuck in my throat and when I went to throw up, it went down.”

At that point I realized we’d just dodged a bullet. She could have choked to death and I was completely clueless. She’d been unable to talk, but thank God she’d been able to breathe and thank God that penny didn’t lodge in her airway when she tried to throw up.

I took her to the doctor and they took x-rays. Yep, the penny was in her stomach.

Parenting Plights and Delights, Lynn Kelley, Lynn Kelley author, Lynn Kelley children's author, Curse of the Double Digits, Monster Moon mysteries, BBH McChiller

Tulip – Age 4

They told me to keep an eye out for it each time she used the bathroom. I remember checking for it, but I don’t remember finding it. My memory isn’t so great anymore, so maybe she did digest it. She’s 32 now, so if it’s still in her system, I guess it’s going to stay there.

For a link that explains what to do if someone is choking, go here.

Do you recall any food or foreign object scares or have any funny incidents that come to mind?

If you have a parenting or grandparenting memory

you’d like to share, please leave it in the comment section or contact me  

at lynkelwoohoo at yahoo dot com.

If you’re not a parent,

stories from your own childhood count, too.

Warning: I might feature your story in a future post.

(Names can be changed to protect the guilty!)

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26 Responses to Don’t Put Peas In Your Ears – Parenting Plights & Delights

  1. LOL @ these! When he was a preschooler, my brother put a Tic-tac up his nose. Our mom freaked, but it came out! My brother also used to eat hot dogs sideways (think the platen roller on a typewriter). They often rolled out the back of the bun, leaving my brother shrieking in the restaurant, picnic, etc.

  2. gretchenwing says:

    A friend of mine’s conversation with her kid after a call from the kindergarten teacher:
    “HOW many raisins did you stick up your nose?!”
    “One raisin?”
    “No…one box.”

  3. Maybe that’s her lucky penny?
    Glad I wasn’t a kid that put things in strange places.

  4. marsharwest says:

    Lynn, there was an old book by Jean Kerr, called Please Don’t Eat the Daisies that was made into a cute Doris Day/David Niven movie. (I did say old, didn’t I?) LOL That’s what your post reminded me of. Fortunately, my daughters dind’t stick food things in odd places. Now our younger daughter was known for getting her head into places and not being able to get out. Think chair backs and stair railings. She also locked herself in the restroom at the doctor’s office to avoid a shot, much to her older sister’s mortification. Fun? memories. Thanks for the laugh.

    • Marsha, I remember Please Don’t Eat the Daisies! Doris Day was my idol when I was a girl. Your youngest daughter was a pistol. Locked herself in the restroom to avoid a shot! I love it. Am saving your comment. Thanks so much!

  5. patodearosen says:

    I STILL cringe at the memory of my daughter with the ABC gum in her mouth. My kids, thankfully, didn’t stick raisins up their noses or swallow pennies. Ahem, I know this post is about parenting, but did I tell you about the time my cousin’s stash of Hershey’s Kisses disappeared? The family dog’s foil-flecked poop incriminated him. (Luckily, he survived the chocolate, which can be toxic to dogs.)

  6. Pat, I cringe every time I read about your daughter chewing that old gum! I’m sure my kids did that, too, but I didn’t know about it! The story about your family dog is a hoot with the incriminating “foil-flecked poop!” I’m saving up pet stories, too, so thanks for sharing this!

    I know chocolate is toxic to dogs. One chihuahua had a few seizures from climbing onto my desk and eating Hershey’s Kisses. I was so thankful he was okay. One of our other dogs ate a pound of chocolate candy that was left on the coffee table. We came home and she had thrown up all over the house. Good thing she threw it up. Probably saved her life. Thanks for sharing your memories with us!

  7. Lynn, what is it about the nose? I hear of kids all the time sticking thing up their nose. Here’s the weird thing. I don’t recall my boys stuffing anything in their nose. They did break into a child-proof bottle of children’s Tylenol one time. Oh, that was a thrill. They ate it like candy. And then had to be rushed to the hospital for epicac? Then given an antidote. We were so fortunate they didn’t die. How they got into the bottle I have no idea. I couldn’t even open it. Go figure.

    • Karen, I know. It’s strange how so many kids stick things up their noses. I was fortunate my first three never did that, but the penny incident was scary. I didn’t expect a four-year-old to put a penny in her mouth.

      That’s a horribly scary ordeal with your boys. Thank God you got them to the hospital in time. I can’t imagine how awful it was to go through that. Sheesh!

      Thanks for stopping by. It’s always so nice to see you, Karen.

  8. Great stories! My kids never put things in their noses but I’ve heard stories about myself and siblings. One of my sisters tore open her baby mobile and stuffed the foam bits up her nose. 🙂

    • Oh my gosh, Coleen! Your sister went to a lot of trouble to get foam pieces up her nose. That’s a new one. Gotta give her credit for being so innovative. Just goes to show parents we should always expect the unexpected!

  9. My son never put anything in orifices other than his mouth, but everything went in there until he was about 2. By 3, we assumed he knew better. Nope! He got into the little berries on a bush in our backyard. He was so proud of himself, berry juice smeared all over his face. “Look, Ma, I foraged for food and found some berries!”

    I had no clue what the bush was or whether or not the berries were poisonous so I called the doctor and described the bush. He laughed (which I did not appreciate at the time) and assured me that the worst we could expect was a bout of diarrhea, which never happened, Thank God!

  10. Kassandra, I would have freaked if my kid ate red berries like that! First thing that comes to mind when I see little red berries on a bush is, “poison!” The doc had a lot of nerve to laugh at you. Sheesh! I’m glad your son didn’t get sick. I have to say I’m impressed that he knew what foraging meant. Good vocabulary!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  11. claywatkins says:

    oh my….. I teach middle school but occasionally I deal with eating in class issues – mostly wrappers left behind for someone else to pickup. My kids are past that age, but I can tell when they’ve had one too many a jolly rancher!

  12. Clay – Middle schoolers are a whole other animal! I remember when one of my kids was in 7th grade, telling me about some of the 8th graders going into the rest room and snorting Pixie sticks. Yes, the powdered candy. How insane is that? Worse than a toddler or young child who doesn’t know any better! Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Clay!

  13. Debra Kristi says:

    Kids are funny. Neither of mine stuck (so far) anything up their nose or in their ears, but my youngest will pick all kinds of things up and chew on them. I have to keep an eye on her. It scares me that she’ll chock on something. As a new mom, I would panic over the slightest thing. I recall calling poison control to check when my son swallowed something once that he shouldn’t have. If I recall correctly it was a cotton ball. They told me not to worry. Crazy kid. What was he thinking?

    Must have been something to see a penny in the tummy. Did you get to keep the x-ray?

  14. Funny, I don’t remember anything like this growing up. I think I must have been a pretty careful child. I can’t believe your daughter swallowed a penny! Maybe that’s good luck? 😉

  15. My daughter went through the nose stage. She just picks it now lol. (Obviously trying to stop that ;))

  16. We also went through the penny-swallowing thing, back in the day. I remember calling the doctor in a panic, only to be told I had no reason to worry, as long as it worked its way through in a week. Now, if you think that meant going through a week of messy diapers, you’re wrong. Because, at the time, my husband had a hobby… metal detecting! Every day he just scanned all the used diapers. LOL

  17. Laura, that makes sense. As long as it doesn’t obstruct their airway, they’re out of the woods. Whew! Thanks for your comment.

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