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Transcript of an imagined phone call to poison control

Poison Control Operator: Poison Control, how may I help you?

Me: Uh, yes…my son just ate part of an old and rather stale gingerbread house…

PCO: How old, ma’am?

Me: Three years…

PCO: The gingerbread house is three years old?

Me: Oh, no. My son is three years old.

PCO: What is the weight?

Me: Just eyeballing it, I’d say maybe a pound and a half? Two pounds? Aidan, go get the scale!

PCO: I was asking for the weight of your son.

Me: Before or after a bath? Uh. About 34 pounds.

PCO: How much of the house did he consume?

Me: Well, he ate some of the roof tiles with little red and green round candies. I’m not sure what they are—roundish. Gumdrop Lane is gone, and Grampa Gingerbread is headless. His right arm is dangling by a frosting thread. Some of the icicles are chipped off. The starlight mint over the front door is streaked, as if someone has been licking it. In fact, a lot of the candies appear to have been licked repeatedly. The foundation seems unstable. I’d deem the damage to be comparible to a Category 2 hurricane.

PCO: Is he coherent?

Me: Somewhat. He keeps calling himself “The Big Bad Wolf”—is that normal?

PCO: We see it sometimes with petrified icing exposures. Gingerbread houses, in general, induce grandiose behaviors in at-risk kids, specifically little boys of preschool age.

Me: Will my son have any lasting damage?

PCO: With any luck, no. He may have an upset stomach for a day or two.

Me: So I don’t have to induce vomitting?

PCO: No, he will do that on his own, and most likely on a day when you have many activities and errands planned. Do you have any other poison emergencies?

Me: Well, there’s this fruitcake in the back of the fridge…

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