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Chronicles of Parenting

Chronicles of Parenting: Splinter Removal

How to solve this problem in 75,000 Easy Steps

Removing a splinter from a writhing child is as much a part of summer as chasing after ice cream trucks and chugging margaritas. When a splinter suddenly lodges itself under your child’s skin, all other fun activities will unfortunately come to a screeching halt.
Much as both you and your child might like to keep that little bugger in there, it does have to come out. And you may have to try several methods. While on vacation recently, an aging wooden deck gave us the unique opportunity to try 75,000 different approaches. I am happy to share just a few of those here.splinter
1. Find your tweezers: This is your child’s cue to run away from you as fast as an Olympic sprinter.
259. Dig it out with a sterilized needle: You will have to blindfold your child first. And also put him or her under general anesthesia.
7,399. Slide it out with the help of dish detergent: This technique actually works and is based on a scientific and extremely useful theorem called Lubrication.
15,662. Coax it out with a piece of duct tape: As long as part of the splinter is above the skin’s surface, this also actually works. The process only takes approximately 16 hours of an action we’ll call Stick, Unstick, Stick, Unstick, Stick, Unstick.
19,865 Concoct a poultice and apply it to the affected area with a bandage for 24 hours: The poultice could include a myriad of ingredients, such as soap, sugar, albacore tuna, essence of acorn, the urine of 14 fairies, etc…
36,003 Take your child to an emergency room: Of course, this will be embarrassing. Of course you will be surrounded by people with real emergencies. But, while waiting, your child might come to appreciate how minor his affliction is, relative to those around him. Or more likely: because the television in the waiting room is only playing local news on a boring loop, he might temporarily agree to go back home and remain still while you re-attempt the first 36,002 techniques.
52,543. Exorcism: You’ll need to be on good terms with a priest for this one.
75,000. Reason with it: Because, hey, there’s a small chance, an infinitesimal chance, that a splinter, just like a child, could suddenly respond to logic.
The most important thing is to remain calm despite your child’s thrashing and wails of pain. Have faith that, even though it could take hours or even several days, you will get this job done.

Jocelyn Jane Cox. Photo Credit: ©2015 Dave ZornowFreelance writer and author Jocelyn Jane Cox reports on the Great State of Parenthood with advice you never knew you needed and the chuckles you know you really need every other week in the Chronicles of Parenting. Her 2012 humor book on life in the New York suburbs, The Homeowner’s Guide to Greatness: How to handle natural disasters, design dilemmas and various infestations, is available on Follow her on Twitter at @JocelynJaneCox.

The Chronicles of Parenting is sponsored by The Palisades Center, your one-stop-shop for fun. Come to the Palisades Center for Munchkin Mondays, childrens’ concerts throughout the summer in the East Court on Level 1 near H&M and Uniqlo. See the complete schedule of events at


Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is sponsored by Sun River Health.

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