So I keep a collection of them on my nightstand, in case one falls out (or I pull it out) in my sleep and I can't find it right away in the bed -- I can just grab another one from the nightstand and go back to my awesome dream where I'm drowning an aggressive lion with my bare hands in the Olympic-sized swimming pool of my mansion.
But when there's a toddler involved, keeping 4-5 foam earplugs sitting out on one's nightstand is a very high-risk behavior. Not because she might choke on them; nay, she never puts them anywhere near her mouth.
Because she hides them. Every single day.
Here are a few of her favorite earplug-related activities:
Earplugs in Daddy's boots
Jesse wears combat boots to work every day, and he keeps them in our bedroom. Audrey just loves to take the fistful of earplugs off my nightstand and drop them one by one into one or both of his boots.
So, people in Australia always have to turn over their boots and shake them out in search of spiders and scorpions ...
I wanted to find a picture or GIF of someone removing a large insect from their boot, but instead I found this and was like "WTF" so now I'm sharing it with you because WTF.
Jesse has to turn over his boots and shake them out every day in search of earplugs.
And yes, he has forgotten to do this and spent all day walking around with a few earplugs smashed under his foot in the boot. No, I did not continue to use them afterwards.
Earplugs stuffed into the thermometer cover
This was a daily occurrence until I finally took the thermometer cover away and hid it somewhere out of reach. The game is to take the earplugs and stuff them down into the plastic thermometer cover. You win when you have so many earplugs stuffed in there that you could not possibly stuff any more even if there were money involved.
The problem is, they're nigh on impossible to get out of there. You see, the way foam earplugs work is that you squish them down, then put them in your ear canal, and then wait for them to puff back up with air and make a good seal. So when you do the same with a plastic thermometer cover, they puff back up with air and completely seal themselves in. I can't grab them to pull them out; I can't shake them out; I can't push them out with a tool. The only way to get them out at all is to use a pen or something to squish them again until they're small, and then shake the tube violently/smash it against things with great force and get the earplugs to fall out before they have a chance to puff back up and seal themselves in.
Every single day I had to do this. Every day.
And then the next day she'd just shove them all right back in there again.
Keep going, Audrey. I bet you can get at least ten, twelve more in there.
This is why people choose not to have children.
Earplugs in the bath
This was a new one. I was filling the tub for Audrey's bath, and she was leaning over to put her hands under the faucet as usual ... but then I noticed that she had all my earplugs in her hands, and was 'washing' them under the water. When I tried to take them away, she threw them into the bubble bath, and screamed any time I tried to remove them from the bath later on. So she took a bath with my earplugs.
I threw those ones away too. They were still wet the next day and if we're being honest, the odds that she peed in that bathtub are like 98%. I don't need to put that in my ears.
Earplugs in the garbage
It's always the brand new ones that I've only used for a day or so that she decides need to be thrown away, too. You think these things grow on trees, Audrey?
Well, they come in giant packages that are very inexpensive, so they basically DO grow on trees, but that's not the point and you know it.
Earplugs in her crib
For some reason, running down the hallway and throwing random items into her crib is great entertainment. Especially because she can't get them back out again without help! LOL WHAT FUN!!!
Luckily, the earplugs glow faintly in the dark, so if I don't notice that she's done this before putting her to bed at night, I can at least see the subtle orange glow of the six earplugs she's hoarded in there next to Elmo and her blankie. Sigh.
Earplugs in the suitcase
Just so we're clear, Audrey has no idea what the earplugs actually are or what they're actually for. She has never seen me put them in my ears. To her, they're just weird little orange foam things that are always next to the bed for some reason.
So imagine my surprise when I arrived on vacation and found five earplugs scattered through our suitcase. I'm just glad someone had the foresight to pack them, because lord knows I wasn't going to remember.
Earplugs in the toilet
I saluted as I flushed. They had served me bravely.
Some people have cats who are obsessed with stealing hair ties. Not me. I have a toddler obsessed with stealing earplugs.
When we move out, I shudder to think how many of them we're going to find stuffed behind pieces of furniture, underneath things, jammed into things, and hidden deep inside things we rarely use. Hundreds of them. Whole packages of earplugs, vanished into the darkest recesses of our home.
Audrey, LEAVE MY EARPLUGS ALONE. I NEED THEM SO YOUR FARTS DON'T WAKE ME UP.