“I’ll take the penguin,” Mom decided as she was completing her purchase. I grinned as the shiny creature was nestled in bubble wrap and placed carefully in the shopping bag. Mom and Dad have always been good at giving presents. “He has a cinnamon candle in him,” she offered apologetically once we were in the car. “If you take his little hat off, he’s going to stink.”
My dislike of cinnamon scents has long been established - Do Not Want. When I didn’t feel well this morning, I climbed the stairs and curled up on the heating pad while I sleepily listened to their conversation.
“We should take the candle out,” Mom insisted and Dad soon abandoned his argument of just leaving the hat on and the candle alone. I smiled affectionately even as I began to smell the spicy sweetness, knowing some sharp implement was being applied to pry wax from a penguin. Objectively speaking, it wasn’t an unpleasant odor, but my nose wrinkled anyway. Feeling warm and drowsy, I tried to recall while I dislike spicy aromas.
Part of it, I admitted, is my fondness for sweets. I smell anything that could theoretically be placed in a baked good, and my poor brain gets all hopeful. “Cookie?” it asks eagerly, propelling me toward the source of the smell. “Where’s the cookie? I like cookies! I want a cookie!” Alas, the discovery of an inedible candle leaves me disappointed. So, on that level alone, I don’t approve.
But then I remembered a long-ago encounter with cinnamon. I used to love red hots – tiny, red bits of candy that were both spicy and sweet. Since they were a favorite treat, one of my parents must have offered ToddlerKatie a handful to enjoy. I decided, perhaps out of some latent experimental instinct, to stuff one up my little nose.
It hurt so I hid under the table while Mom flipped out, unable to pry the candy from my left nostril. She went to get a neighbor with medical experience while I wailed from the physical discomfort (turns out the nasal passage is sensitive to spicy candy) and hurt feelings from being scolded by my mother. (I was just trying something!) As it turns out, a runny nose from copious weeping melts the candy coating on the red hot, making it smaller and causing it to fall from a little nose, leaving red stains and a lesson learned behind.
I wandered downstairs, wrapped in a fluffy robe, and wondering idly if my nose was now big enough to fit a red hot or if noses didn’t grow all that much with age, and smiled at my parents.
“We fixed the candle,” Dad proudly told me and I pressed a kiss to his cheek, above his bristly white beard that makes him look a little like Santa Claus.
“It doesn’t smell anymore,” Mom agreed, rinsing the empty container out with soap and water. “You can put peppermints in it,” she suggested happily. “You like peppermints!”
“I do,” I agreed, cuddling close and wrapping my arms around her. Because in addition to being sweet and lovely, they’re obviously too big to fit up my nose.