The incredible marble eating boy

‘Twas a very exciting weekend. Started out with the usual weekend excitement, and then it got plenty more exciting when Truett accidentally swallowed a marble. I know, right?? So many questions. How does one accidentally put a marble in one’s mouth and accidentally forcefully push it to the back of one’s throat and accidentally eat it?

Apparently, it’s possible when one is trying to perform a magic trick for one’s sister.

Behold the amazing marble swallowing trick.

“Kirsten, look carefully, I’m going to make this marble disappear inside my mouth.” For most budding magicians, this involves a masterful sleight of hand plus some artful misdirection, but my son, well, he’s dedicated to his craft, that’s for sure. Method magic, I think they call it.

Sunday afternoon, Truett ran out to the living room, gasping, “I…I swallowed a marble.” On his face was a look of sheer panic. This sort of information takes an extra half a second to sink in, before you get that feeling of paralysing terror that comes when you realise your child is in peril and you couldn’t do anything to help him.

Was he choking? Could he breathe? Should I attempt the heimlich maneuver? What if I break his ribs? I’ve seen that stabby move where they poke a straw into the throat when patients asphyxiate on Grey’s Anatomy. Crap, I don’t have a tiny straw. I should have bought yakult from the supermarket the other day, then I’d have some tiny straws. Ok, don’t panic. Hold it together and think.

“Can you breathe, Tru? I need you to calm down and take a deep breath for me.”

Upon closer inspection, he could breathe. He was hyperventilating, and his breath was shallow, but I could hear breathing, so that’s good. At least it’s not obstructing his airway.

“Are you in pain? Does your throat or chest hurt?”

He nodded, looking teary and terrified. Poor baby. He must be feeling even more afraid that I was right then. I gave him a hug and told him it’s going to be ok.

“First, my chest was pain, then my stomach. I think it’s in here,” he said, pointing at his abdomen.

We brought him in for an x-ray and indeed, there’s a spherical foreign object in his digestive tract. Look at it, it’s monstrous.

swallowed marble

The doctor at Raffles initially recommended a scope (under general anaesthesia) to retrieve it, but after some consult with another paediatric surgeon, seems like the best option right now is to sit tight and wait for it to pass out from his system. He’s got 7 days to poop it out before they go in to get it.

Thankfully, he’s gotten past the initial shock and he’s back to his usual merry self. “Hahaha, you can call me the incredible marble eating boy,” he told Kirsten while waiting to have his x-ray done. Not bad, still can joke. (h/t to Oliver Jeffers)

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Group hugs for moral support while waiting for the x-ray

Meanwhile, I have the unfortunate job of performing surgery on his poop to locate a marble like a super gross treasure hunt. They don’t tell you this when you become a mom, that your duties would include smooshing poop with a spatula (that will be thrown away after 7 days or once I locate the marble, whichever comes sooner. I mean the spatula, not the poop. The poop gets thrown away immediately, it’s not like I’m keeping it as a souvenir or anything.) But they also don’t tell you that it’s really not that bad. You’ll just throw up a little in your mouth during the first couple of times, then it gets easier. Kidding. Smooshing poop never gets easy but hey, at least my baby’s ok and he’s generating poop for me to smoosh. I’ll take that over…you know, the alternative.

The husband had a chat with him to see how this could have happened and turns out, he wasn’t dumb enough to want to swallow the marble. He was trying to hide it under his tongue while talking at the same time but the marble was very slippery (who knew??!!) and it rolled up over his tongue and down the back of his throat. I might have laughed for 2 minutes when I heard the explanation because as someone who has done my share of stupid things as a child (and adult), this sounds entirely plausible.

At least now he knows not to put non-edible things into his mouth ever again.


On another note, I think I’m signing up for one of those child first aid CPR classes. It’s terrifying knowing that I’m not equipped to handle a real emergency and 4 babies = 4 times the risk of having something bad accidentally happen.

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  • Reply Debra April 14, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    I couldn’t help but laugh – oh Truett! Hope the slippery marble makes an appearance soon – don’t ever let him forget this, Daph ;)

  • Reply Clara April 15, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    i would have freaked out massively. Good on you for staying calm.
    Hope Truett passes it out soon

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