A few weeks ago I had an email from my sister in Australia. It appears my lovely little niece, who is 3 next March, had been at the doctors because she put a bead up her nose. I reminded my sister that I too had once had a penchant for putting objects up my nose at around the same age, although my preference was for crayons. It’s obviously in the genes, I assured her.
My mother and the doctor gave me a stern talk about the dangers of putting things up my nose, even though I was quite young to be reasoned with. We lived in Fiji at the time and one aspect of life on the island was the huge number of dead frogs on the roads- casualties of the increasing number of cars and trucks in Suva. I was fascinated by tree frogs and would often sneak out of bed at night so I could watch them climb around the trees outside. I found the number of dead frogs we passed every day quite distressing.
My mother decided to use this as a teaching moment and explained in quite dramatic terms that if I continued to put crayons up my nose, I would end up like the froggies on the road. Dead! Gone! Finished! Forever! I don’t remember this but I can readily imagine the impression it must have made on my toddler brain.
A few days later Mum, my younger sister and I were walking down the road outside our house. Tina (my niece’s mother) was only a baby but I was in the habit of happily chatting away to her as she surveyed the scene from her stroller.
After staring thoughtfully at the hundreds of squashed- and most certainly dead – frogs on the road I whispered confidentially to my sister, “Tina, did you know that froggies put crayons up their noses?”