Seven Years / by Kate Brightbill


The other day, Maggie opened some gum from Jack's birthday pinata, and took a bite. She chewed it for a moment and swallowed. 

"Maggie!," I said absently as I was cleaning the table beside her. "Gum isn't for swallowing. It's for chewing! When you swallow it, it stays in your stomach for seven years."

Then I glanced over at her. Her blue eyes were giant, and were welling up, and she was wearing that nervous pasted smile she gives me when she's afraid she's done something terribly wrong but wants to be sure everyone is still happy... "really mommy?... but... I already swallowed it." The tear rolled down her cheek.

Wait, what did I just say?

I hugged her and said, "Maggie, no worries!! I mean, I'm not sure how long it stays, but it's going to be just fine. Just try not to swallow your gum, mkay?" 

She ran off, slightly appeased, but still following up on the conversation with her wise big sister, who was actually validating my claim, but comforting her by letting her know a little won't hurt her too much. 

Meanwhile, I thought about the whole thing... Why would gum stay in a stomach for seven years anyway? Why is that what I was told all my life by anyone who knew anything? It cannot be true. So I did what any reasonable person would do and googled it. 

Nope, not true. Obviously. 

Just making my five-year-old cry for no reason at all

Next time your kid swallows their gum, my friends, there is no need to scare them to tears. PSA, you're welcome. Happy Monday to all.


* Special thanks to Google for debunking myths for children of the 80's on the regular, so our children don't have to live for seven years in fear of the gum they accidentally swallowed that one time.