“Raphie, look!” Two-year-old Leonardo called out to his slightly younger brother.
Raph crawled out from under the blankets that he was burrowing through on his father's bed.
“What you got?” he asked, his eyes scanning the leather wallet in Leo's hands.
“Don't know, but pretty stuff in it,” Leo replied as he dumped the contents all over the floor. Dollars, coins, and several shiny cards tumbled out.
Raph's green eyes sparkled in awe. “Whoa...” He crouched down and picked up one of the shiny cards. It was a sparkly golden one.
Donnie crawled out of Splinter's closet and saw his two older brothers crouched down over something. “Wha' you lookin' at?”
Leo grinned. “Shiny stuff!”
“I see!” Donnie rose to his feet and waddled over to his brothers. He picked up a quarter. “Is shiny...Daddy shiny stuff?”
Leo nodded. “Uh-huh.”
“Why daddy...no share shiny stuff?” Donnie asked.
“Don't know...” Raph replied and bit the end of the card, and then blew a raspberry. “Yucky! Shiny taste yucky!”
“Raphie, shiny not food,” Donnie scolded.
Mikey waddled in the room with his teddy bear in hand. “Wha'...doin'?” he asked.
The three sneaky older brothers looked to each other with mutual glances.
“Nuffin', Mikey,” Leo replied. “Go back TV.”
“Wha 'sat?” Mikey asked, staring at the shiny objects that his brothers gathered around.
“Is nuffin'!” Raph snapped. “Go 'way!”
Mikey waddled over anyway and sat down by his brothers. He was so awestruck by the shiny objects that lie on the floor that he dropped his teddy bear and reached for a quarter.
Donnie smacked his hand away. “No, Mikey! You too little! Not for babies!” he scolded.
Mikey pouted. “No baby! Pway too!”
“You baby!” Raph argued. “Little...wear diaper!”
Splinter turned off the burner and removed the pan. He had been cooking dinner for his little boys and had left them alone in the living room to watch cartoons.
“Boys, dinner is ready!” he called out, but received no response. “Boys?” He went to the living room to find the TV playing cartoons for an empty audience. He groaned. They couldn't be up to any good.
“Daddy!” a sobbing Michelangelo ran out of the dojo.
Splinter met him halfway and lifted him up. “What is the matter, Michelangelo?”
Mikey pouted. “Brothers...no share...shiny.”
Splinter cocked his head. “My son, I cannot understand you. What about your brothers? Did they hit you?”
Mikey shook his head. “No share...” he sobbed.
“They won't share?”
“What won't they share?”
Splinter sighed, still unable to understand. “Where are they?”
Mikey pointed at the dojo.
“Well, let's go talk to them,” he cooed, and carried Mikey into the dojo. “My sons,” he called as he walked through the entrance. “Why aren't you sharing with your brother?”
He looked around the dojo only to find no turtles. “Boys?” No answer. He looked down to Mikey. “They're not in here, my son.”
“...there...” Mikey pointed to his open bedroom door.
Splinter sighed. That couldn't be good.
“Boys, what are you doing in my bedroom?” he called out, walking through the entrance of his room.
The three boys, huddled in a circle, all jumped in surprise.
Splinter took note of their guilty expressions. “What are you three up to? What aren't you sharing with your brother?”
“I pway shiny...” Mikey whined.
Splinter set him down on the floor and went to the other side of the room to investigate.
He gasped when he saw his money and credit cards strewn all about all over the floor.
“Boys, are you going through my things?” he scolded.
“N-no...” Leo lied. “Just pway wif shiny stuff.”
“Daddy,” Raph demanded. “Why no share shiny stuff?”
“My sons, you should not go through your father's things. It is not kind. Not to mention that some of my things could harm you.”
“Shiny no hurt,” Donnie argued.
“Boys, this is called money and cards and they are daddy's. They are not for children to play with,” he scolded. “Now help me clean it up and then you must get washed up for dinner.”
“Dinner?” Mikey chirped.
Splinter knelt down while chuckling at Mikey. “Yes, Michelangelo, it is dinner time, but first we must clean up this mess.”
Mikey waddled over and tugged on the sleeve of his kimono. “No,” he whined. “Dinner now! Hungwy!”
“No, Michelangelo,” he scolded, “you must be patient. Perhaps if you help us clean up we will get done faster.”
“Daddy, eat now!” he fussed.
“Michelangelo, no, not until we clean up this mess, understand?”
Mikey pouted and crouched down over the mess of coins.
“Why no pway shiny?” Donnie asked as he took a handful of coins and put them back in the wallet.
“Because, my sons, I need to keep this money for emergencies. I can trade it for things that we need very badly in an emergency,” he explained. “If you lose it, then we will not have it when we need it.”
“Wha' if we cayful?” Leo asked. “We pway and no woose it?”
“No, Leonardo,” he stood firm, “money is not a toy. You all have plenty of toys to entertain yourselves. You do not need to play with my money.”
“But is pwetty!” Raph argued.
Splinter looked next to him to check on his youngest who had been eerily quiet in the past minute. It seemed he had looked in the nick of time, because just as he turned to him, the little one had a dime in his hand, ready to drop it into his open mouth.
Splinter swiftly reached for his son's hand. “No, Michelangelo!”
It was too late; the dime had already made it's way into Mikey's mouth.
“No, no, no, no, do not eat that!” He pried Mikey's jaws open and stuck his finger in his mouth, desperately feeling around for the coin, but did not find it. “Oh no, did you swallow it?”
“Ew, Mikey, shiny no food,” Leo cringed.
“Why not for babies,” Raph said.
“No, no, Michelangelo, you do not eat coins. That is very dangerous and dirty!” he scolded and scooped him up.
“Boys, come with me. I do not want to leave any of you alone with the money,” he demanded.
The boys obeyed and followed him into the infirmary, where he set Mikey down on a table and retrieved a small flash light and popsicle stick.
He adjusted Mikey's face to point slightly upward in order to open his airways. “Open up,” he said.
Mikey obeyed. Splinter pressed his tongue down and shined the flashlight down his throat, hoping not to see the glimmer of a coin stuck in his throat.
“Did the coin go down?” he asked Mikey urgently. “Can you feel anything stuck in your throat?”
Mikey shook his head.
“Are you sure? Do not be afraid to tell me the truth,” Splinter urged further.
“No,” Mikey replied and giggled. “Shiny in tummy.”
“It is not funny, Michelangelo,” he scolded lifting him up into his arms. “I know you did not know better, but you are never ever to put money or anything that is not food into your mouth. You could get sick or choke.”
“Told you no for babies,” Raph added.
“That goes for all of you,” he turned to the older three. “In fact, from now on, you are never to go into my room without my permission. Is that understood?”
They all nodded in unison.
“Dinner now?” Mikey asked.
“Yes, come now, let's get washed up.”
While his sons slept, Splinter stealthily snuck to the surface and found the payphone that he knew to be just outside of the alleyway. He looked for passerbys, and when he saw none, he went into the phone booth and inserted a quarter.
“Poison control, how may I help you?” a female voice picked up on the other line.
“Yes ma'am, my two-year-old son swallowed a dime earlier, and I wanted to know if this is cause for concern, and what I must do,” Splinter said.
The woman let out a small light-hearted laugh. “Ah, yes, we get these a lot. Coins seem to be a baby's favorite snack. Well let me ask you; are there any signs that it may be caught in his windpipe or esophagus?”
“No ma'am. I checked his throat. He has ingested it.”
“Okay, that's good, so we know there's no obstruction and it won't erode. Has he complained about any pains or nausea or acted in any unusual way since swallowing the dime?”
“No, he has been behaving fairly normal...”
“Good, good. How many coins did he swallow? Just the one?”
“Yes, ma'am, I believe it was only one coin.”
“Then sir, you have nothing to worry about,” she said. “Your son should be fine. Keep an eye on his bowel movements, though, so you can be certain that he passes it.”
Splinter felt like he could finally breathe. “Okay, thank you.”
“But if he does start to become sick or complain about being in pain, I would advise you to take him to a hospital. That's when it could be a problem.”
“Okay, thank you for your help, ma'am.”
“You're welcome, sir. I hope everything goes well.”
Splinter hung up the phone.
“Daddy!” Leo came into the dojo, hollering.
Splinter sighed, not pleased to have his meditation interrupted so rudely.
“What is it, Leonardo?”
“Daddy, change Mikey, pwease! He poop! No watch 'Pace Hewoes wif stinky baby!”
Splinter chuckled. “I am coming, my son.”
Leonardo exited the room and returned to where he was watching the TV, holding his nose as he sat next to his stinky little brother.
Splinter knelt down and scooped up Mikey. “Rumor has it that you stink,” he joked. “Oh Michelangelo, we really must get you using the potty soon.”
Mikey smiled. “Wike bwothers?”
“Yes, like your brothers,” his father chuckled and carried him off to the bathroom. “We will get there in time. Very soon.” He lay the little one on his shell on the bathroom floor and removed his soiled diaper. Having changed so many diapers by this time, he was completely non-reactive to the sight of baby feces.
Mikey chuckled. “I poopy.”
“Yes, yes, you did,” Splinter took a wet nap and wiped him clean. “Do you enjoy stinking out your big brother while watching cartoons?” he joked.
Mikey nodded. “Eeo funny.”
Splinter smiled. “Yes, he is.” He grabbed hold of Mikey's ankles and lifted his legs, and then slid the fresh diaper under his backside and gently set him down before sealing the diaper around him. “All clean.”
Mikey sat up and looked at his not yet folded up dirty diaper. He pointed. “Shiny...”
Splinter looked to where he pointed and smiled when he saw the dime from three days earlier. “Well, it looks like the coin survived his journey.” He then sighed with relief. “And so did we.”
Mikey laughed. “From poopy!”
Splinter chuckled and scooped him up. “Yes, Michelangelo, the journey from poopy.”