The baby laughed like a maniac who had just gotten away with robbing a bank or draining the dolphin tank at the zoo. I eyed the boy suspiciously as he continued to giggle with an open mouth.
“What is in your mouth?” I asked in alarm as the tip of a piece of foreign matter peeked out amidst the laugher of its host.
Two tiny teeth stood guard, rice sized soldiers protecting whatever he had tucked away in his cheek.
I wrangled the squirming baby and his mouth clamped shut with the determination of a Rottweiler’s teeth into a piece of meat. He knew that he was found out but he wasn’t giving in without a fight.
“Open up,” I demanded with the baby under one arm and a finger in his mouth.
He shook his head in refusal and smiled with eyes that sparkled with mischief.
“Yes, you will,” I argued with the naughty boy.
I fished left and right until I felt something solid, pinched it between two fingers and extracted an entire leaf.
I laughed in disbelief, but I wanted to cry. What if he had found something more malign than an old leaf, like a nail or a dead spider? I promised him I would do better and be more vigilant against the dangers of the world.
Graciously, he forgave me and crawled off babbling his favorite word, “Dada.”