Since Spring has eluded us around here (it has been 40 degrees with snow flurries today), we decided to take a family field trip to the Discovery Center. It seemed like a good indoor activity and we had not been there for a couple years, before they completed their expansion. The kids had a great time with all the hands-on exhibits, which included digging for dinosaur fossil bones, building a life-sized Lego house, digging with a kid-sized machinery, flying homemade aircraft, making lighting, etc. You know, all the cool stuff that science centers commonly offer.
When we entered the section of larger than life exhibits about our five senses, we had to pass through a giant mouth, complete with teeth and uvula. I giggled about the uvula when I noticed it later and commented to Dear Husband about it. Then I didn't think any more about it. Until Dear Daughter inquired randomly at the dinner table, "Mommy, what was that thing hanging down in that mouth we walked through at that learning place we went to today?" It took me a few moments to connect in my own brain what she was talking about. "Oh!" I said, "You mean the uvula?" "Yeah," she replied, "that uvula. What is that for?" I realized that I wasn't any more certain about what a uvula is for that than I was when she asked me what eyebrows are for, so I told her we would have to do some research and learn about it.
She was silent for several moments as I was putting food away in the refrigerator. Then she suddenly stopped eating her plate of buttery noodles (her favorite) and said she didn't feel well, and in fact felt a little sick. There was an urgency in her voice, and so I instructed her to hurry to the bathroom if she thought she was going to throw up. She insisted she wasn't going to throw up, and got quiet again. I moved on to other things in my own mind as Daughter continued to pick at her noodles, and so I was greatly caught off guard when she began crying and screaming and with a single leap was out of her chair and at my side jumping around in the tile floor like a Mexican Jumping Bean. I frantically urged her to tell me what in the world was the matter with her, and she tried to explain through tears and wails. "I was just thinking of something, and I can't stop thinking about it!" Jump, jump, jump, as she screamed and wailed. I asked her what on earth she was thinking about, and she screamed and wailed and whined that it was "that uvula thing" and continued her spastic jig and urgent screaming.
I tried to distract her by heading to the playroom downstairs. Then Dear Husband and I made the mistake of teasing each other about how silly our daughter was being. I sarcastically told Dear Daughter that she need not worry about gagging on her uvula as I am 36 years old and have never yet gagged on MY uvula. This only upset her more. I nudged Hubby and made gagging and retching sounds with my hands up around my neck. "Uhhhh! I'm gagging on my uvula! UUUUUUUUUHHHH!!!!!" retch retch retch. This didn't make Daughter laugh. In fact, it only upset her further. Dear Son, however, thought it was hysterical. He giggled and giggled and put his pudgy little 27-month-old hands around his own neck and made retching sounds and said " 'Gain! " 'Gain!" as he pleaded with me to do it 'gain! I indulged him a couple more times to my daughter's horror and then realized that I'd better stop as she was so anxiety-ridden that she was wringing her Taggie Book in her hands to the point that I feared she would tear it in two, and then we'd have yet another crisis on our hands.
I have no clue where my daughter developed a phobia of her own uvula, but I'm really hoping that she doesn't wake up screaming tonight with nightmares about gagging on it. Me and my uvula need our rest in order to deal with whatever crises are conjured up in my four-year-old daughter's imagination tomorrow.