"Hi, Mrs. Atkins. This is the school nurse."
Pause. Gulp. Crap.
"Zane is fine."
Phew. Ok, then this call must be about that immunization he received as an infant - the one that was off by a few months, so they want him to have it again . . . grr.
"I'm calling because Zane ate lead."
"Excuse me? He ate what?"
"Lead. A pencil tip."
"What?! A pencil?"
"No, just the tip."
So, our dogs often steal and chew on pencils under the couch, but, seriously? Zane?
"Apparently, someone in class told him to do it, so he did."
Oh, no he didn't! (finger wave)
"Wow. That's not like him."
"The teacher asked him why he ate it, and he simply told her that someone had told him to do it, so he did."
Mentally gathering the speeches that start with, "If someone told you to jump off a bridge . . ."
"Ok. Um, is there any danger here?"
"No, his body will probably get rid of it. It was just a tip. But we thought you should know."
I hung up and googled "dangers of eating pencil lead".
Prognosis. He's going to be fine.
I'm not concerned about the lead.
I am concerned about his taking a bite because someone told him to do so.
"Zane, who told you to eat lead today?"
It was a girl.
Joline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be found writing at The Cuppa Jo, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel and the newly debuted SlimSavers.com. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.