mom-e's diary

Diary of a Spirited Child Mom: The Seashell


The Incident Report said:

“Edison was in the bathroom washing his hands when he started crying that he had put something in his ear and wanted Mommy and Daddy.”

Edison described the incident to every nurse and doctor with 4 sentences:

“I was outside playing. I washed my hands. I took a shell from the box. I put it in my ear.”

When the school first told us, it was kind-of funny. Such a 3 year-old thing to do. But, when we picked him up and realized that we could hardly see the shell, let alone remove it, it became kind of scary. Needless to say, we took him to Urgent Care.

For a parent, there is little worse than hearing a doctor say, “We need to discuss your options…” I heard scary words like, “strap him to a board”, “permanent hearing loss”, “anesthetize”, and “perforated ear drum”. Tears welled up in my eyes, but I just kept smiling reassuringly at Edison so he wouldn’t be worried.

Just when I was about to break down sobbing, Edison leaned over and whispered in my ear, “I just tooted…” Suddenly, I knew everything would be OK.

The doctor said that the seashell was so far in his ear canal that it really couldn’t do any more damage if we waited to see a specialist the next day. So, we decided to wait.

The specialist was fantastic. Using a microscope and pliers that looked like a long needle, he effortlessly extracted the seashell. It was a whelk shell, about half the size of a dime. (Thanks to my step-dad for providing me with the word “whelk”.)

Now that it has been safely removed, I am finding myself so thankful for many things:

  • There was no permanent damage.
  • It was a shell and not a bead. (The doctors and nurses said that beads are the worst because they are impossible to get a grip on.)
  • Edison is old enough to say, “Hey! I stuck something in my ear, and this is what it was.” (We could hardly see it. If he had been younger, he wouldn’t have been able to tell us and I could have caused serious damage the next time I cleaned his ears.)
  • There are professionals who go to school to learn how to remove things from ears.
  • The Universe saw us through yet another spirited child moment…Thanks, Universe!


  1. A very worrisome moment for his Babka, too!

  2. Happy the shell was removed-I had a generic Q-tip cotton swab break off in my ear many years ago. Went to the ER & he used some gadget to go in,grab it, & pull it out. So much for cheap cotton swabs-always buy the well-made ones now! Just wanted to share my story with you.

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