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Soy Nuts My daughter recently turned three years old and to mark the conclusion of the “terrible two” era, she stuck soy nuts up her nose. The internet tells me that soy nuts are similar in texture and flavor to peanuts, and my wife tells me that they are a healthy snack. They are slightly smaller than peas and are the perfect size to obstruct a three-year-old’s nasal passages. My wife had taken our seven-year-old son to art lessons, and my daughter, exhibiting an uncanny ability to recognize that she has been left alone in the care of her father, had both nostrils clogged within moments of my wife pulling out of the driveway. I had been talking to a friend of mine about high school field hockey when my daughter said, “Look, Daddy!” I looked at her sitting on the sofa, mere feet from my chair, and there was a soy nut stuck in each nostril. It is indeed rare that one ever gets to end a telephone conversation about high school field hockey, or any conversation for that matter, with, “Garland, I gotta go. My daughter just stuck soy nuts up her nose.” I tried to tell my daughter, with some composure, that putting soy nuts up her nose was not a good idea, and she plucked the one out of her right nostril with no problem. Unfortunately, the technique used on the right nostril only complicated things in the left nostril as she tried to pry it loose with her finger, but only succeeded in pushing it further up her nose. Calmly I told her to try to blow her nose but, to her, that means making as much noise within the nose as possible, so she simply inhaled as hard as she could and sucked the soy nut out of plain sight and further toward her sinus cavity. I had my daughter lie back on the couch. I peered up her nostril and could see the soy nut, but it was obvious that any effort to pry it loose with her finger or mine was not going to get it done. I told my daughter, who was a little concerned at this point, that Daddy would be right back, and I went to the closet by the front door. It was obvious that the situation required suction, and the equally obvious solution to me was the greatest form of suction in any household—the vacuum cleaner. I returned to my prone daughter with the vacuum cleaner and one of the many attachments that I never use when I vacuum the house. Now understand, I know how to properly use the attachments, but, when vacuuming the steps, it’s much easier just to lift the vacuum from step to step than to stop, add an attachment, and then proceed. I found the narrowest attachment–I believe it is generally used for corners and kind of looks like the nose of an anteater– and attempted to soothe my daughter and convince her that the vacuum cleaner was our best solution at the moment. I plugged the vacuum in, tested out the attachment on my hand, and then gently held my daughter’s head down on a pillow as I proceeded to suck the tip of her nose until her 35

Fall 2013 Volume 1, Issue 1

screams drowned out the noisy hum of the vacuum. I turned the vacuum off for a moment and gently scolded my daughter with the choice of “vacuum cleaner or going to the doctor.” She lay back on the pillow with trustful resignation, and I went in again with the vacuum cleaner attachment. It became obvious that her nose was too little to offer more than the tip for the suction of the vacuum. So after further sucking, piercing screams of “I want to go to the doctor” and turning her nose to a frost-bite pink, I stopped. We were both rather flustered at this point, and it appeared that the soy nut was continuing its Sherman-like march toward the sinus cavity. I needed help, and my wife doesn’t turn on her cell phone, so I called my neighbor Freddie who is a state trooper and, one hopes, medically trained for situations such as this. “Hello,” said my medically-trained state trooper friend. “Freddie, is your wife there?” I said, bypassing the medically trained state trooper for a mother. “Yeah, hold on.” “Jen?” I asked. “Yes?” “My daughter stuck soy nuts up her nose, and I was wondering if you knew how to get them out.” “Your daughter stuck soy nuts up her nose?” Jen asked with what I suppose was an appropriate level of disbelief. “Yes, I tried a vacuum cleaner, but that didn’t work.” (State trooper in the background: “Tell him to try the vacuum.” His wife: “He already did. It didn’t work.” More howling from the state trooper.) “How about a tweezers?” “That’s what I was thinking I should try next.” When, in actuality, I was thinking nothing of the sort. “Do you want me to come up there and help?” “Would you?” “I’ll be right up.” My daughter seemed relieved when I told her Ms. Jen was coming up to help. Ms. Jen is one of her favorite people in the world, but I tend to believe that any female presence in the household at that moment was preferable to being left alone with Daddy and assorted vacuum cleaner attachments. Jen showed up while I searched the house for a tweezers. Unlike the vacuum and its attachments, I’m not overly familiar with where we keep a tweezers. I had found a lot of partially used lip balm in my search but not a tweezers when the phone rang. It was Freddie. “Hey, Jen told me to check Google, and Google says it’s like CPR. You have to close off the other nostril and then blow, hard, into her mouth. Make sure you blow hard.” If Google suggested this means to an end, it seemed reasonable and a lot quicker than trying to find a tweezers. I suppressed the urge to ask if Google mentioned anything about vacuuming it out as option number two and quickly

Profile for FLAR

FLR the Anthology 2013 - 2014  

A compilation of the Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review, Volumes 1 and 2 (2013-2014)

FLR the Anthology 2013 - 2014  

A compilation of the Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review, Volumes 1 and 2 (2013-2014)

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