My Call to Poison Control

1. Standing at the sink washing dishes while grilled cheese sandwiches cook on the stove for lunch, I hear a "glug glug glug" sound behind me. 2. I turn around to find the Nut sitting in front of the open refrigerator with an almost-empty bottle of Gaviscon in his hands, the cap sitting next to him on the floor, his lips white with mint-flavored super-extra-strength antacid.

3. I grab him and smell his breath, as though this will somehow tell me how much he drank. All I learn is that his breath is minty fresh.

4. Alarmed but suppressing panic, I call Jack to ask him if he remembers how much was left in the bottle. Jack is in the studio rehearsing with a beautiful singer whose name I can't spell, and doesn't pick up his cell.

5. Pissed off that Jack is probably flirting with a sexy, talented, childless woman while he ignores his phone, I consider the little bottle of Ipecac in the cupboard. Two teaspoons and the Nut'll vomit up everything he's eaten since he was born. Do I really want to put him through that if I don't have to?

6. I decide to call the emergency room of the local hospital. I look in the phone book, where I happen to find an 800 number for Poison Control. Great idea!

7. The number for Poison Control has been disconnected.

8. !

9. I call information to see if there's a new number for Poison Control, and find myself thinking that James Earl Jones is despicably calm.

10. Yes, there is a new number for Poison Control.

11. A mellow but attentive woman answers. I am rattled but manage to read her the ingredients on the Gaviscon bottle in a worried but jaunty manner, hoping maybe she'll be jaunty back to me and that my inability to keep my son from drinking things that should be under lock and key eight feet off the ground will be forgiven. She appears to have no sense of humor, but asks me how much he drank. I hazard a wild guess of four ounces, or half the bottle.

12. She puts me on hold!

13. After about eight years she returns and tells me that he'll probably experience some diarrhea so I should give him lots of fluids, but that otherwise he should be fine. Relieved, I thank her and hang up, but not before she gets my name, his name, and our phone number, presumably so they can start a folder for me in the Bad Parent File. Oh, the shame!

14. I take a moment just to sit and hug the Nut, who seems fine and not at all poisoned. Suddenly, I smell something burning. Is it coming from downstairs? Next door? Should I call the fire department?

!5. Aaahh! The grilled cheese sandwiches!

Turns out there was only a thimbleful of stuff left in the bottle, Jack just hadn't gotten around to throwing it out. And in a matter or hours it all became an amusing anecdote.

Moral of today's story: Put all your emergency numbers by the phone after making sure they're not disconnected. Everything is always your husband's fault.