Lauren takes photo of mercury drop.
Photographing the mercury was a lot of fun. I took the drop out onto the clothesline deck (you can see the clothesline above me) and Misty walked by just as I took the photo.

On Tuesday night, David and I received a scare.

We were just putting the girls to bed when I discovered my mercury thermometer — in its protective case — was broken. Without sounding too panicked, I questioned the girls carefully.

“I sucked on it,” Brioni said. With a bit of encouragement, she added, “It tasted yummy.”

I looked around carefully and couldn’t find any evidence of the glass or missing mercury and phone the Poisons Information Line for information on how to handle a mercury ingestion. (My Best-Mother-Ever-Award was going to be given to someone else, I knew — no matter if I never feed the kids McDonalds — a heavy metal ingestion would put me out of the running.) I had visions of spending the night in hospital as Brioni moved from one testing machine to another. Would it show up on an x-ray?

As I waited patiently for my turn with the no-doubt, harried Poisons Information Line operator, I hopped online and browsed for my own remedies. It seems that if you’re going to do anything with mercury, swallowing it is actually less harmful than handling it or breathing it in. After receiving information that Brioni would most likely pass the mercury through her system, I started to relax.

I returned to the bedroom to have another look around and discovered the broken glass and mercury drops behind the bedside table. I’m not sure how it got broken there — perhaps Brioni was returning it to its protective case?

However, if a person was going to select a safe place in which to break a mercury thermometer, this would have been high on the list. The mercury was contained by the wall and the laundry basket and didn’t take long to clean up.

Whew. That’s the last mercury thermometer we’ll ever have. I just don’t trust the new-fangled electronic ones, but perhaps I’ll have to learn to!