Here’s something you never want to hear: “Daddy, toothpaste is up HERE.”
Especially as you’re looking down at a substance purporting to be a tube of Thomas the Train swallowable toothpaste, which you just finished brushing his teeth with.
Well, I guess you could tell from the title that this was not one of my finer parental moments here. I guess I should also preface the story by saying that no one was seriously maimed or hospitalized during said moment. Here’s what happened …
Our nighttime routine with Bub goes something like this: Take a bath, have some milk, read some books, brush our teeth, sing a couple songs, and go to bed. Nothing crazy, nothing that would lead you to believe during that stretch of AAA-approved activities that one could ingest a toxic substance. Well, not so fast. Where there’s an unsecured tube of Neosporin, there is, in fact, a way.
So the toothpaste resides in a modest dwelling, on top of the kids’ chest of drawers. Sure, it doesn’t get much natural light, but it’s in an up and coming area. Bub and I were sitting on the floor reading, so I just reached up when we were done (as I do every other night) and grabbed the toothbrush and “toothpaste.” I even unscrewed the cap and applied it with nary a raised eyebrow. It was toothpaste, why do you need to look at it?
As per our routine, Bub gets the first crack at brushing, which is to say he mostly just eats the toothpaste, leaves all the chunky manual labor to us. It’s bubble gum flavored, I get it. Well, not tonight, my friend. Although he did not grimace or spit or do anything else he should have, he did not flash his usual gum-eating grin. It wasn’t until I gave those chompers a pretty thorough scrubbing and went to put the supplies away that I realized what I’d done.
So the Neo was in there because my wife applied some to HP for good measure earlier in the day. That’s a whole other story. I was vaguely aware of this. Just wasn’t really able to connect these particular dots at this particular moment.
Okay, now in my defense, I was toiling under nightlight conditions. And it was one of the bigger, flat tubes of Neo, not the obvious pointy-tip kind. This was like some Final Destination randomness piling up here. I mean, what are the odds that A) we even use Neosporin EVER, B) we use it in their bedroom and leave the tube RIGHT NEXT TO WHERE THE TOOTHPASTE LIVES, and C) I manage to grab and apply it with zero recognition?
So I tried to play it cool. I walked him into the bathroom and tried to get him to swish and spit some fresh water. He swallowed it. You know, just to make sure any lingering toxicity was sure to head straight down the gullet. Then came a minor conundrum. Echoes of ancient science classes seemed to be telling me to observe the subject and whatever you do, DO NOT LET HIM GO TO SLEEP.
But it was, in fact, bedtime. I mean, a routine is a routine. So I tucked him in, we sang some songs, and I put his CD and fan on. THEN panicked. My wife found Poison Control’s number first. I’m sure they’ve heard stranger things, as he didn’t even inquire as to how the lad came to ingest such a substance.
But all’s well that ends well. He didn’t even break a sweat. Poison Control said anything under one teaspoon is benign. Yummy. This also begs the question, if a toddler can get away with a teaspoon, how much can an adult consume? A couple tubes, easy, right? Sounds like a dare. Too bad it doesn’t come in grape flavor.