Empty Spaces and Irresistible Impulses

I missed the memo about empty spaces and irresistible impulses.


Recently, my darling boy discovered that there is something inexplicably satisfying about filling the void of one’s nostrils with small, preferably edible, objects.  For your consideration…

This one's coming out on Prom Night.

Yep.  A mini M&M…which, by my calculations, is either now imbedded in his brain somewhere, or more likely, it melted and resulted in some chocolatey post-nasal drip.    I’m really not sure.  M&Ms melt in your mouth, not in your hand, but no one said anything about what happens when you put them up your nose…

While children have been putting stuff up their noses since time immemorial, I still couldn’t help but freak out just a little when my kid did it.   And like any modern hysteric, I rushed to the interwebs for counsel.  One message board helpfully suggested that a wayward object will just fall right out once the kid starts crying.  Well, my son was fairly unperturbed by his predicament,  so I triggered the waterworks by telling him that his father was going to perform a little brain surgery to get the M&M out.  I might have mentioned that a pizza cutter would be involved.  I know…I suck.  To his credit, as my son cried, he said repeatedly, “I know you’re joking!”  I traumatized him, but I did not fool him.  And yet the M&M did not come out.  I suppose mommy will just have to double down on her contribution to the therapy fund this week…

I figured my cruel trickery, along with the bulb syringe business depicted above, would at least scare my boy straight. Alas, no. A mere 48 hours later, he put a Nestle crunch bite up his nose.  No photo this time, as we were at the movies as my brilliant child turned to me and said sheepishly, “There’s something in my nose.”  I’ve hinted before that there is something about becoming a parent that increases one’s capacity for the disgusting, and so without hesitation, I stuck my index finger up his nose and pulled out what went in.  I have to admit, especially after losing the M&M to the far reaches of my son’s cranium, I was a bit self-satisfied as I extracted this most recent nasal interloper all in one piece and with my bare freakin’ hands.  Those are mom skills to pay the bills.

I’m hoping that the novelty of all this has worn off for my son, as it certainly got old pretty quick for me.  Like an idiot, I have asked him, “Sweetheart, why did you do that?”  And of course he has no idea.  He put candy up his nose for the same reason some people climb Mt. Everest…because it was there.  An empty space, like a nostril, just seems to need to be filled with something, and the urge to fill empty spaces can be pretty compelling.

A lot of adult life seems to be about satisfying the compulsion to dig and then re-fill holes of one type or another, and the compulsion doesn’t always make a lot of sense.  So I thank my dear son for the reminder that not every empty space needs to be filled…leaving your nose empty literally gives you room to breath, and leaving some empty space in your calendar, your closet, etc. can also give you the figurative kind of breathing room.

Somebody is probably not be getting any little candies in his Easter basket this year, but nonetheless, memo received.

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