One day (this morning), Zoë found a penny.
"I have money!" she said, holding up the
gleaming, pristine old and tarnished coin proudly.
She carried it around with her all day to show the world how rich she was. She took it to the breakfast table, she took it on a walk to pick up her big brother from school, she took it downstairs when we went to play.
This was our downfall.
I had invited a new family over for a playdate. They have a little girl Benjamin's age, a little boy Zoë's age, and a little girl Alexander's age. So obviously it was meant to be!
And the mom is from Russia so I kind of pounced on her after she bore her testimony on Sunday, and she very patiently allowed me to wade through my dusty knowledge of Russian to welcome her into the ward.
Anyway, I let my guard down while the kids were playing so that we could chat.
In the back of my brain I was aware of what Zoë was doing. She had her prize friend The Penny with her (because why play with the actual child her age, who was busy building a train out of LEGO) and had set out a tea party (she loves playing tea party).
Most of my brain, however, was occupied with nursing Alexander and chatting with my new friend. I believe we were just on the topic of Macey's versus Macy's because she'd asked about the best grocery stores nearby and I said, "Well, there's Macey's..." And she said, "They have groceries at Macy's!?" And then I had to explain about Macey's (the grocery store) versus Macy's (the retail store).
It's a common misunderstanding for anyone coming from outside of Utah.
Except for me. Because when I moved to Utah I didn't know about Macy's either so had this experience in reverse when the Macy's store opened up at the mall. I very quickly ascertained that all grocery stores belong to someone here (Albertson's, Smith's, Macey's)* and accepted Macey's as just a run-of-the-mill grocery store name in the states (unaware that it was only a Utah chain). So then when there was a big to-do about getting a Macy's at the local mall I was like, "Why are they putting a grocery store in a mall?"
Anyway, our conversation was interrupted when Zoë started gagging and coughing and crying.
It took me .2 milliseconds of wondering, "What is she choking on?!" for my mom brain to recall that she'd been having a tea party with a penny (not a great game, for the record). I leapt out of my chair, unlatched Alexander, placed him abruptly (but gently (...ish)) on the floor, and ran over to Zoë.
By this time she'd choked the penny down and was busy trying to recover herself.
"Zoë, are you alright?" I asked.
She stared straight ahead.
"Can you just say yes or no for me?" I asked.
"Can you say anything at all?" I asked.
"Did you swallow your penny?" I asked.
"It's alright if you did," I said. "I just want to know."
Didn't even blink.
"Does it hurt anywhere? Here? Here? Here?" I asked, moving my finger down her throat to her tummy.
She just stared me down so I picked her up and held her on my lap for a while. Eventually she got back down to play and soon after that was back to her chatty little self.
We've been teasing her about it all day.
Grandpa used a magnet to test if there was a penny inside her (he just rubbed a refrigerator magnet on her belly).
Grandma and Grandpa treated us to a night on the town (we went to a nativity display at a local church, out to dinner at Barry's, and then to the Spanish Fork light display) and Zoë took a sip of pop and said, "My tummy tingles!" so Grandpa quipped, "It's a reaction to the copper!"
We've mentioned that out of all our children, she's worth the most.
Tonight when I tucked her in and sang to her I asked her again if she'd swallowed her penny and she buried her face in her pillow.
"I will take that as a yes," I said. "But don't worry. This, too, shall pass."
And for now that's all we can do—wait for it to pass.
Thank goodness Andrew's home this weekend. He volunteered to be our poop patrol and keep an eye out for that penny!
* Where I came from we had grocery stores like IGA, Extra Foods, The Co-op and, uh, The Real Canadian Superstore (whose brandname is "no name," I kid you not (perhaps to make up for the overt patriotism in the name of the store?), so people are always saying things like, "Gotta get some of those 'no name' potato chips!").