As we were climbing into the car to go pick up Dani from school, I heard Aidan educating Ian on the metals money is made of.
"Pennies are copper," he said.
A few seconds later, as were were barreling down the road in a deluge of rain and between bursts of thunder, I heard him say, "Mmmm. This one tastes like copper!"
I couldn't turn and look to be sure, but I followed my gut and bellowed, "DO NOT PUT MONEY IN YOUR MOUTH!"
From the back, I heard a squeaky, guilt-ridden "Okay, Mommy", and I knew that my instinct had been dead on. The little urchin had been sucking pennies.
I'm not usually a germophobe. If something hits the floor, say, a piece of toast laden with apricot jam, I scoop it up, spread the jam around a little to cover the newly naked spots, and feed it to the kid anyway. If it's a good day, I'll go ahead and wipe the excess jam off the floor before someone steps in it and tracks it from here to kingdom come.
The other night, I was sitting on the floor at Cara's house, and my eyes zoomed in on a piece of candy between the cushions on her sofa. Ecstatically, I pinched my fingers around the blue gem and was almost ready to eat it when I saw that instead of the trusty white M printed on the side, it was instead a scrawny S. A SKITTLE! Blech! In my furor, I chunked that nasty piece of lint-covered carbohydrate across the room. But I'm here to tell you. Had it been an M&M, I'd have cranked open my pie hole and tossed that sucker in. Lint, dog hair and all.
Money's different, though. After Aidan's sheepish apology, I lit into him.
"You don't know where money's been. I mean, what if someone put their money in the underwear, and then you put it in your mouth??"
A chorus of "eeeeeewwwww yucks" exploded from the back seat.
"What if the garbage man put his money in his sock for safe keeping 'cause he didn't have any pockets, and then you put it in your mouth??"
More appropriate groans and throw-up sounds erupted behind me.
"What if..." I began, but Ian interrupted.
"What if a BABY ate a PENNY," he giggled, "and then he pooped it out in his diaper, and his Mommy found it, and she bought a piece of gum with it, and then you put it in your mouth and it still had BABY POOP ON IT! Gross! Ewwww! Nasty! Yuck!" Of course, merely typing it out totally loses the preciousness of Ian's delivery. Every single word was punctuated with giggles and groans, each word getting louder and more obnoxiously high-pitched, until the words "BABY POOP ON IT" came out as more of a squeal than a human sentence.
They were still beside themselves with giddy boyish glee over such a prospect that I had to yell to be heard:
"BOYS. That really happened."
Then I proceeded to tell them about baby Matthew, my long-ag0 friend Laura's baby, who swallowed a dime. Laura watched him swallow it, but was unable to stop him in time. So she dutifully inspected every single poopy diaper until the dime passed, at which time she washed it off and plucked it down in his baby album. At least THAT one's safe from my kids sticking it their mouths.
The boys were aghast. Truly, they were speechless. It could really happen.
I don't think either of them will be putting money in their mouths any time soon.