Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Choking Hazards

Yesterday I left E alone in our bedroom for a minute while I went into another room to do something. Thirty seconds or so passed, and he was too quiet. I went to check on him and saw him chewing on something. I jammed my finger in his mouth and fished out one of my earrings--dangly beads, with a long, curved hook. Oh God! Up until now I've kept this little tray of jewelry on my nightstand, and I had just been thinking yesterday morning that it would be time to move it soon. Apparently that time had already arrived. Duh. He can pull up. And reach. I just hadn't realized he could reach that far. What was I thinking? The funny thing is that I'd gone to great lengths otherwise to baby-proof the room--the stuff I do every day: unplug and move my bedside lamp, unplug the monitor, unplug and move the white noise machine (er, to the floor, so he can play with it), move the trash can, insert outlet covers over newly exposed outlets, etc.

Earring incident aside, I'm surprised by how (relatively) unafraid I've been of choking (and germs--I didn't know I'd be so laidback about germs, but I'm glad I am; in fact, I take pride in it). But when I say I'm not scared of choking, I really just mean food. E chokes and gags on food all the time. I've gotten used to it and I know what he can and can't handle. Found objects, however, do scare the shit of me. I'm especially afraid of him finding a battery or a coin, I think because I read somewhere that those are the #1 killers of babies. Just this morning I discovered a penny sitting innocently on the mat in front of the kitchen sink--prime Eamon territory. I don't know where it came from.

The other night we were all in the kitchen and E was crawling around. I glanced over and noticed him chewing on something. I said to him, "Did you find a cheerio under your high chair?" TJ answered for him, "Yes, Mama, I did." I glanced at E again and he seemed to be chewing in a weird way, not the Cheerio chew. I dashed over and stuck my finger in his mouth and found a small, rolled up piece of clear plastic. I have no idea where it came from. I sweep the kitchen multiple times a week, but there it was.

I've never met a mother who didn't have stories like these, and that's comforting, but it doesn't change the fact that the name of the game these days, at least to some extent, has to be Vigilance.

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