Just Call Him Jack

Kristy Eckert

The Saturday evening trip to Easton was going beautifully.

And then, the confession.

"I hate to tell you this, Momma," my 5-year-old said, randomly. "But there's a bean in my ear."

"A what?"

"A bean."

"What kind of bean?"

"From the sensory table at school."

It had been lodged in his left ear canal for three days - at least - before he fessed up. Three. Do you know what happens to uncooked beans when doused with, um, a bath, a shower and a trip to Mimi and Papaw's that included a little hot tub time (and goodness knows what other adventures)?

You guessed it. Something that had expanded to the size of a 5-year-old ear canal.

My attempts at bean extraction were fruitless. Tweezers? No go. Aspirator borrowed from the neighbors with a baby? Nothing. Straw inserted in ear and me sucking as hard as possible? The ivory superfood with brown polka dots wouldn't budge. [Insert here my husband reminding me that I did not attend medical school and pleading with me to stop.]

Thankfully, we have a neighbor who is a nurse at Nationwide Children's (wait until Monday and allow your family doc a go at it before venturing Downtown, she advised) and a pediatrician who is as old-school and awesome as they come. "I'll never regret that year in the E.R.," Dr. Henderson said, smiling, after swiftly and successfully plucking the little protein from Cooper's ear.

Why, I asked my boy, did you stick a bean in your ear in the first place?

"I thought it was going to go through my brain and into my belly," he explained, "AND I WAS GOING TO POOP IT OUT!"

At least there was a thought process, I reasoned.

That night, the ulcer I was certain had formed in a mere 36 hours was seemingly gone.

And then, the exclamation point.

"If I lose my mind again and stick another bean in my ear," Cooper said, "I'll do it on the right side next."

-Kristy Eckert is a Powell mom and the Chief Communication Officer at Flying Horse Farms, a camp in Mt. Gilead that provides magical experiences for children with serious illnesses. You can reach her atkristy@flyinghorsefarms.org.