On occasion, one of my kids will present me with a particularly challenging problem, and I know exactly what to do. So rare and so perfect are these moments that I remember them with great detail for long after. Like the time nearly two years ago when my son, then three years old, came to me with a popcorn kernel lodged too far up his nose to grab. I didn’t hesitate. “Let’s do this,” I said to him, as I pinched closed the unaffected nostril, placed my mouth over his, and blew a sharp puff of air.
I’m not sure why my son erupted into giggles a second later. It could have been that this medical maneuver tickled, or it could have been the sight of my face covered with “collateral”—and one popcorn kernel.
I was able to be Mom of the Year at this moment because just a week prior I had seen a nurse practitioner at Duke Urgent Care Hillandale (for an unrelated problem). We got on the subject of kids leaving their things where they shouldn’t—such as up noses—and he clued me in to the blowing trick (which actually has both a cutesy name, the “kiss technique,” and a fancy medical one, “positive-pressure expulsion,” I later learned from Jennifer Swanson, MD, medical director for Duke Urgent Care). Swanson told me more tips about dealing with foreign objects in various places, some cautions, and a few eye-openers.