It happened.  After months of telling M that, “we don’t force our fingers into tiny holes to see if they fit,” she forced a tiny finger into an even tinier hole. And it got stuck.

Mackenzie approaches life with a blasé scepticism about any warning or concern I express.  For months, I’ve been telling her “no, we don’t know what’s in that hole. We don’t force our fingers into random drywall holes at department stores.”  Or, “no, we don’t build ourselves steps to get onto the kitchen island so we can dance on a stage.”  None of the alarm that I show has any effect.  I’ve taken to expressing the consequences of these actions in pretty graphic and brutal terms because it’s the only way I get any compliance.  “No, we don’t dance on the kitchen island. If you fell down, your head would crack open like a little egg and your brains would ooze out and a doctor would have to scoop it all back in at the hospital.  And maybe it wouldn’t go back in properly, so you might not be able to talk or walk or imagine or see.  Does that sound fun?”

No positive reinforcement, redirection, natural consequence,  punishment, reward, yelling, crying, or begging makes a difference.  She will stare me down, ice cold, as if to say, “Haters gonna hate.”  But the graphic descriptions of what might happen intrigue her.  And she usually responds, “Hmmmm. Dat’s not good. Me get down.”

So.  Holes.  She sniffs them out like a contraband dog.  And finds holes I couldn’t imagine forcing e a finger into.  Yesterday, she found one at the top of her bubble bath bottle. And she shoved a fat little middle finger into it. A giant f-you to my attempts to parent her decently.

Next, she began one of the behaviours we’re actively trying to correct.  She started bashing the bottle into the glass doors of the shower. So I got down to her level and started correcting her. “In this house, we don’t hit windows…” All the while, she’s flipping me a bottle-covered bird and I didn’t even realize it.

Finally, she interrupted me. “Uhhh, mama? My finger stuck in dis?”

Yes, child. Your finger is stuck in dat.

At this point, her finger was in deep from slipping in with the soap and creating a vacuum. And it was swollen from the banging she did. It wouldn’t budge.  After almost a half hour on the phone with the nurse hotline trying everything imaginable,  it was still stuck, swollen, and getting a bit purple.

Meanwhile, I was wrapped in a towel with a cup or two of coconut oil in my hair,  looking like I hadn’t showered in months. I realized I  would have to leave the house looking like a disaster to get this thing cut off her finger. Awesome. 

Her finger was swelling more and I started wondering how long it could go without adequate blood supply before it shrivelled up.   And I probably spent 5 or 10 minutes freaking out, crying, running in circles, struggling to find pants.  Not my finest moment.

IMG_9147So like the awkward, confused Canadians we were, M and I rolled up on a walk-in clinic with no idea how insurance works or what we had to do or say. I looked like crazy white trash. I must have seemed insane.  And all the while, M tried to bash her finger into whatever she could to make noise.  She seemed unperturbed by the cap (I had taken the bottle off at this point), and she loudly yelled for anyone who would listen, “Look! My finger is drumming!”

In fact, I feel like she was pretty damn proud of herself.

I was not.

Eventually, it was Nurse Tim to the rescue.  Nurse Tim was a certifiable badass.  He’s former military, burly, tattooed, and got instant compliance from M.  He was my hero today for the latter point alone.  While we bantered about politics, he trimmed down the cap to a workable level and explained he really wasn’t supposed to remove it. So a doctor would show up at some point to do that.

The doctor showed up and she was lovely. If she could be our all-the-time-for-everything-ever Doctor, she would be. She was that good.  But she was called away for urgent results on an ultrasound.  So Nurse Tim returned.  And in a few minutes he cut the cap right off with surgical scissors.

When we left the clinic, M had an absolute meltdown. “Where’s my lid?  No lid for the bottle? No! I want my lid!”  You better believe I shut that down. Fast.

After the whole ordeal, it was time for me to teach M a lesson about healthy coping mechanisms for stress.  But that’s something I would actually have to figure out first. And as I’ve noted, yesterday was not my finest hour.

We hit the McDonalds drive-through.

Over lunch, we talked about what we learned.

“I no stick my finger in holes, okay?” She told me.

Great.  She got it.

It was finally time to wash off the insane amounts of coconut oil and take the shower we has originally tried to take 3 hours earlier. I really thought the day was going to turn a corner in a positive direction.

But then M made a beeline for the second bottle of bubble bath and flipped open the lid. I might have used some driving words as I snatched it away. Again, not my finest moment.  I was so freaking done.

Needless to say, when Bammah (Grandma in Mackenzanese) arrived for the weekend, I was thrilled.  Being able to laugh about my misadventures in parenting adds a better perspective.