Bugging Out

July 7, 2019

My youngest son, Jesse, has always had ear issues. We figured this out early on. As a baby he struggled with ear infections and build up of ear wax in the canal. The infection would be behind the wax. They would have to clear the wax to even see if he had an infection.


One time, when he was about four, we had to take him to an urgent care. He was doubled over with pain in his ear. I looked in his ear, but couldn’t see anything. They irrigated his ear, the flushed it with something that looked like a power tool that pulsed water.


Eventually, after working the water hose and using a tool, they pried a piece of wax the size of the tip of my pinkie out of his ear. Immediately, he sighed and said, “Mommy, my I can hear again.”


From then on, I checked his ears regularly.


My mom always used to check our ears. My brother and I loved it. I loved the feeling of my mom cleaning out my ears. She would use a bobby pin to pull any ear wax out. We would lay on her bed. Our heads in her lap on a pillow. She had a lamp that would extend over our ear. It would be warm on our heads. She would then proceed to gently pull the wax from our ears.


After she was done, we would then all stare at the collection of wax that had been gathered and ohh and ahh at who had more wax, my brother or me.


With Patrick, I cleaned his ears, every now and again, but he didn’t require a regular cleaning. He didn’t get a major build up. He also did not enjoy me touching his ears as much. It was just wasn’t something I did, so I didn’t really consider it with Jesse until he started having issues.


Unlike my mom, I didn’t have a good set up. I didn’t have a nice pull over lamp attached to my bed to look deep into an ear canal. Instead, I have a tiny flashlight that I click on and hold between my teeth. Holding this flashlight, causes me to drool. It’s quite the sight.


I go in armed with my bobby pin.


Jesse needs his ears cleaned out at least once a month. For whatever reason, it’s something he has never really been able to figure out how to do by himself well. He does use a Q-Tip, but that only gets the water out of his ear but not the wax. He needs a good bobby pin to really pull the wax from his ears and for that, he still needs his momma.


Late, the other night, around 2AM, I felt someone nudging my foot. It was Jesse. Everyone knows my sleep is precious and rarely disturbs me.


Jesse says, “Mom, my ear really hurts. It feels like there is water trapped inside. Can you look at it? I can’t get it out.”


I wake up immediately. I bring him into my bathroom. I forgo the flashlight. I figure if its water, I can just flush it with some peroxide.


He sits on the toilet and turns his sore ear up toward me. I pour peroxide in his ear. I tell him to plug his nose and blow, to equalize the pressure in his ears. He blows.


And this is where it gets weird.


As soon as he does this. A bug came furiously, scrambling out of his ear, an earwig to be precise.


I didn’t freak out. I just quickly grabbed for it and threw it in the sink. It just crawled around confused.


I calmly tell him, “There was a bug in your ear.”




I tell him it’s already out. He still had his head turned. I don’t think he realized I had grabbed it whole and threw it in the sink.


I told him, “I got it. It’s in the sink.”


He stood up. Looked in the sink and turned on the water flushing it down the drain.


“I thought it was water in my ear. I kept digging and digging in it and I couldn’t get it to stop.”


I told him it was gone now. I also told him I would call grandpa to come spray for bugs.


He went back to bed and went back to sleep. I don’t know how he was able to go back to bed. I would have had to strip down my bed, wash my sheets and blankets, vacuum my room, sweep the corners and then burn everything.


He was so calm but later said he had been doing A Night at the Roxbury head bob dance to get the “water” out of his ear. I thought maybe it was because he had been at a party earlier and had been drinking. Maybe he was still a little drunk. Who knows? But he handled it like a champ. I would have freaked the fuck out.

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