Ava and I have a game where we hide things – say a soft toy or a balloon. We take it in turns to close our eyes (sort of – if you don't peek it could literally take hours) and count while the other conceals said object. Then comes the hunt, with the suitably dramatic lifting of cushions, swishing back of curtains and so on.
When we were half way through a game of 'hide Peppa' the other day, Ava suddenly said to me: "Where my raisin go?!"
"Um. I don't know darling. Perhaps you dropped it. Why don't you just eat the rest of these?" Her mini box of raisins was still half full.
"Nooooo!" She seemed very fond of this particular raisin. "Where my raisin?"
It occurred to me perhaps it was part of the game and she wanted me engage in a dramatic search. So I began prowling the living room.
Under the cushion: "Er... here?!"
On the window sill: "Erm... here?!"
After not discovering it behind the TV or on the bookshelf, I was running out of ideas and I didn't feel I had a huge chance of finding a raisin among the morning's detritus.
"Okay, darling. I give up! You'll have to tell me where it is."
While Ava had clearly enjoyed the dramatic search while it had lasted, she now looked a bit concerned again, and I couldn't understand why she was so worried about that one particular raisin when she still had half a boxful.
Until she absent-mindedly put her finger in her nostril.
"Ava, you haven't put the raisin up your nose have you?"
"Ohhh!" she said, as if she'd just remembered where she'd left her keys. "Yes!"
But something in my expression worried her and her eyes filled with tears. Or perhaps it was the raisin pressing on her sinuses.
So. How to remove a raisin that has all but disappeared inside two-year-old's nostril? I had not a clue. I got a torch and made her stay still while I shone the light up there. I couldn't see anything, which meant it was quite a long way up and therefore quite beyond the reach of a gently probing finger nail. Although it probably would have been quite effective at retrieval, I didn't feel very confident about rooting around up there with a cocktail stick.
I tried for ages to get her to blow her nose – but because she thought making the right noise was more important, she just kept blowing raspberries.
I decided the only thing for it was to make her sneeze.
Goddam my stupid culinary snobbery. Where was the comedy sneeze-inducing fine ground white pepper when I needed it? Coarse ground black peppercorns simply do not have the same effect and, in fact, a good whiff merely resulted in more ingredients being sucked up into Ava's face.
Basil? No. Cumin seeds? No. Dried chillies? Nope.
In retrospect, I realise all this makes me sound like I think of my daughter as some sort of cartoon character – none so much, actually, as what finally worked. I took a feather from her craft kit and tickled her nose with it. She didn't sneeze – she laughed, and then sort of snorted and then looked a bit shocked as the raisin shot out of her nose into my waiting hand.
"Awwww!" she said, and regarded that slimy, well-seasoned raisin as if she had just given birth to it.
I distracted her with an apple, much larger than any orifice she possesses, and we went on with our day.
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