I’m in the middle of dinner. Up to my wrists in cooking stuff. Pots, pans, flames, bowls, meat, knives…totally involved and totally distracted.
Enter my youngest with sweet innocence: “Mom what does a contact lens feel like?”
Flicker of a red flag. Mentally noting the fact that his sister has a sample pair of colored contacts in the bathroom that she occasionally uses for fun.
I pause to assess the situation while wiping my forehead with my forearm. Hmmm, his face looks innocently curious enough. I proceed to explain the texture and feel of a contact should someone touch one. Then ask if he perhaps….touched one. No, of course not. Silly me.
He exits the room only to return a few seconds later with this question “uh, mom? What would happen if I did touch one?”
Red flag. Red flag – more than a flicker. Navigating a pot of boiling water from the stove to the sink I, of course, use this opportunity to educate him on the over-the-top dangerous occurrence of eye infections, blindness and the like from unsanitary contact conditions like, oh say…dirty hand germs polluting the saline bath water that houses the contacts. I really laid it on thick given that I had more than a flicker red flag suspicion of where his little hands had been. He stood frozen and opened mouthed. His siblings suspiciously echoed “Did you touch them?!” NO, of course he didn’t. Silly them.
He left then returned seconds later “Uh mom? How will you know if someone actually has an eye infection and what will happen to them again?”
Red flag. Red flag. Siren quality RED FLAG! Everything and everyone immediately and simultaneously stopped. All eyes were 100%, totally, without a doubt focused on him. We bore into him with squinted eyes and raised eyebrows until he belted out a tearful “Ok, OK I did touch them. I did!!!” The wails were so pitiful and deeply heartfelt, considering that he almost blinded someone, that his older sister had a difficult time remaining angry with him. She let him stew in his emotion while I did the parent thing and dealt with the lie.
The tainted contacts were quickly cleaned, an eye crisis was adverted and someone learned a valuable lesson….be careful where you place your fingers!