Halloween. My kids, who have never enjoyed a really great All Hallow’s Eve because we live in the lamest neighborhood in the universe, full of snow birds, snobs and seniors, are finally experiencing the holiday as it’s meant to be. They’re racing through my best friend’s neighborhood, lit only by the neon glow sticks she gave them when we left her house. Hundreds of costumed kids line the streets. There are parties, haunted houses, and mounds of candy everywhere. They’re having a ball.
Around 8pm I look over at my 9-year-old son, Levi, and notice something odd on his costume. There are little glowing spots of light running down the front of his clown suit. I’m slightly mesmerized by them, wondering what they could be. Suddenly, I look up and see that he’s like frothing at the mouth and more glowing liquid is dripping from his lips. “Oh my God,” I scream. “What’s wrong with you?” I grab him and pull him towards me. All he can say is “Something tastes bad,” and he continues to spit the incandescent fluid out of his mouth. I scream for my husband, the pediatrician. “Something’s wrong with Levi,” I cry. “Do something!”
Mark runs over to our son, grabs him, and tries to make sense out of the situation. He’s not getting very far when my friend’s husband says, “He was chewing on that glow stick, you know.” Suddenly, it all makes sense. My child is ingesting some kind of radioactive phenol and I’m certain he’s not long for this world. I begin to hyperventilate (OK, I’m not really good in a crisis). Levi’s still spitting and Mark is efficiently rinsing out his mouth with a bottle of Aquafina.
After a few minutes, it appears that Levi hasn’t actually swallowed any of the poisonous substance. I begin to breathe again. There’s no point in telling him not to ever chew on anything, ever again. I’ve been saying that since he was 2 years old. I guess maybe the scare from my terror-filled reaction might dissuade his next potential chewing disaster. But, you never really know. I also thought that throwing away his ipod shuffle might teach him to be more responsible with his toys. So far that hasn’t worked either.