The Penny, The Coincidence, and 100 Quarters

It just isn’t Christmas unless a virus rips through the family, right?

A week ago, Alan and I were upstairs putting away laundry or something. J.D., who sometimes walks around saying, “J.D. J.D.,” was doing just that.

One-year-olds crack me up. With your first one-year-old, they are never more than two steps away from you. By the time you’re at boy #4, they kind of just wander around the house poking at stuff. Why? Well, if we aren’t interesting, Joshua, Caleb, or Daniel might be, so there are actual options to who they might want to tag along with.

This particular night, J.D. was upstairs with us, and yet still we had an, “Uh-oh” moment.

Alan said, “J.D., what’s in your mouth?”

Gracious. It could be anything.

I ran over to check. “J.D., open up, what’s in your mouth?”

Alan stuck his finger in there. Nothing, “Oh, man, what did you eat?”

“I really hope it was edible,” I said, and the second I said it, we heard from downstairs, “Aaaaa! I just swallowed a penny! But don’t worry! I’m okay, but I’m just freaking out a little bit,” from JOSHUA.


Such high ambitions I had when I became a mother. My number one ambition at this point is simply to keep them all alive.

We rushed downstairs and talked to Joshua.


“Well, it was either swallow it, or choke on it, so I decided I’d better swallow it.”

Makes sense.

“But WHY did you have a penny in your mouth?”

“I don’t know. I just felt like it. Am I going to be okay? I think I need some water.”

Alan did some google-ing, and I notified the media, and by media, I do mean Facebook.

Why? Why do I do this? Why don’t I just text the people that would actually care? I don’t know!!! I don’t know, but I will talk about my over-consumption of Facebook in another post. In this particular instance, I was hoping some of my medical professional Facebook friends would chime in on what I should do about this, and they did not disappoint. See, the book of faces can be quite helpful at times.

So a week went by, and everything was all Christmas lights and candy canes. Oh, I’m just kidding. Candy canes do not enter our house. Can you imagine what that would do to our carpet? Oh, Nonna, you will be happy to know I cleaned up all those spots the week you left. It looks amazing……for now.

I hate carpet, but let’s get back on topic here….so by the end of the week, Joshua came down with a fever and misery. He wouldn’t eat, and he wouldn’t get off the sofa. Joshua “was not made to stand still,” so we always know when he’s sick. Alan feared that it could be the zinc from the penny, something he learned about in his google-ing, so off Joshua and I went to the Emergency Room.

We had to sneak out very stealthily. Daniel has been known to chase parents that try to leave him down our driveway. It will break a heart of stone.

Three hours later, I left the ER, relieved to know that the X-ray proved that the penny was gone, and this was just a virus we were dealing with.

Joshua said, “But I still feel miserable, and they didn’t help me at all.” Poor baby. I gave him the “Viruses have to run their course,” talk that my mom always gave to me. 🙂

The next day, Daniel had it. J.D. had already had it, and now Alan has it.

Caleb and I are united and standing strong against the evil forces of this fever-headache-misery virus.

But now we know. Now we know what happens when you swallow a penny.

I leave you with this quote from Caleb singing, “Dumb ways to die, dumb ways to die–swallowing a quarter–100 quarters!” See? They did learn something….


  • Seriously. Do all boys really try all the same idiot stuff? My 9 year old swallowed a penny two weeks ago. Do they ever grow out of the duh-what-did-you-think-would-happen stage? Your posts are always just so real life. Sorry I haven’t had a chance to comment as much as I’d like lately but I love how you make so laughable the same stuff that nearly has me in tears everyday. 🙂

    • Oh, no way! This happened to your nine year old almost the exact same time that Joshua did. So many coincidences!! And believe me, so much of this has me in tears too…or in deep regret for losing my patience with my little boys that I love so much, and yet I lose my patience with them.

      I still cannot believe this happened at your house too! It was Wednesday before last here, so a week and a half ago. Craziness! Wild!! Only it isn’t a coincidence at all, because that’s how God allows us to encourage each other!!!
      Love it–but I hope both of them will be accident free for a while. My 9-year old definitely holds the honor of “Most ER visits” in this house.

      • Believe it or not, with 5 boys we’ve only had one visit to the ER and that was for the same kid who swallowed said penny. He stuck one of those little cowboy/indian guys up his nose and the gun broke off and got lost up there. It had to be surgically removed. While we waited around at the children’s hospital we found out about a huge display they had of all the dumb things kids had swallowed, including a Size D battery. REALLY dumb way to die. Caleb can add that verse to his little song.

        • A size D battery!!! WOW. Joshua has a life-threatening cashew reaction and a broken arm under his badge of ER accomplishments. Dan is my croup kid, and Caleb had a life-threatening reaction to fire ants. Plus military insurance only pays for ER and not for urgent care when you’re on Christmas vacation, so we have a fair share of ER experiences. 🙁 I like your record much better–although the cowboy up nose thing is hilarious and horrifying!!!

  • Oh no, and never a “dull” moment in your household April. Hoping you stay immune, and in no time the virus will have run its course, and everyone will be back to their old selves.
    Take care, and thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you! Today, Caleb and I now have it. Oh, how the mighty have fallen… 🙂

      • OHHH NOOO! Even in sunny Southern California. In Canada, it is usually these winter months when everyone is in close quarters that the viruses run rampant.

        I think it has been twice that all 6 of us were “down for the count” in our household over all the years, and it is really not much fun at all.

        Feel for you all, and am praying for you guys.


  • Mary

    Oh no! We haven’t had a money swallowing incident yet….wait…maybe we have and I just don’t know it? Lol. The life of a mother. We did have a moment in time when Emmalee would try to eat leaves that she found. That was interesting. Sorry to hear about the virus. What a crummy time of year to be sick. I have been making the kids scrub their hands 50 times a day and it seems to be working at keeping us sickness free right now! Hope everyone is back to feeling better soon!

  • McMom

    You can tell a story like no other 🙂 Sorry you have all gotten sick now – hope you recover soon!

  • So sorry to hear about the sick kids, but I really enjoyed your post. You reminded me of a time when my older child swallowed a quarter and it was stuck in his throat. I asked my homeschool friends who were there at the time if I should do the Heimlich maneuver and they said yes. Thank God it worked and the quarter came flying out. When I Googled later, I learned that if they can breathe and talk (he could to an extent), that you aren’t supposed to do the maneuver because it could lodge it further. I loved you saying you just want to keep them alive. That has been my goal for a long time. One down, five to go! 🙂

    • OH, the quarter is much scarier!!! Or as Caleb said, “dumb way to die.” LOL I also would have opted for the Heimlich. I wouldn’t have known! Oh, and one out of six already, you have a perfect track record!!!

  • Oh you poor thing!! A virus and a ER bill. No fun!!! Hopefully everyone is well. Only Merry + Josh stood strong this last round at our house. 6 down, 2 stood strong!! 🙂

    • I feel almost guilty to admit it, but our ER visits are free…not really free though, Alan has to go overseas at the beck and call of his country, so there is that. 🙂 WE are very thankful for our free health care! 2/8 standing strong–they should feel like Hercules!

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