I am reminded of this story by reading a story Frank related on his producer page. Read it here. It’s a great one about kids scaring the heck out of their parents, even if just for a moment.
When my kid was little – about two years old I think, she was sitting in her high chair. We’d just finished eating and I had taken down the tray and she was not buckled in any longer…thank Heavens! I laid some jelly beans, as it was about Easter time, on the table and told her to wait for Daddy to run her bath water and I would come back and get her. I don’t recall if I gave her the jelly beans or she pilfered them, but nonetheless, she was chomping on them. I was on my knees in the bathroom running her bath water, getting the temperature right when she appeared in the bathroom doorway. She was clearly in distress.
She was turning red and I could see she was having trouble breathing. She was flapping her little arms as would a featherless baby bird trying to take flight. I leaped up and grabbed her ankles in one motion, flipped her upside down, holding her by her ankles as a piece of slaughtered meat hangs on a hook at the butcher’s shop. I slapped her back one time real good and out popped a purple Jelly Belly. She took a deep breath and began to cry, which was music to her Daddy’s ears for sure! By the time we’d both calmed down it was okay and we proceeded with our nightly ritual of Dad, being a single parent, feeding her then having our big fun bath time. But I never forgot the moment of sheer panic.
This event is a call to action for all parents, especially the new ones. My flipping her upside down was instinct. It came to me as naturally and as quickly as flinching at the sound of a loud and unexpected balloon pop might be to the unsuspecting. It was instinct, and that’s my point.
New parent’s often worry about all manner of things…it is a scary experience for the first time parent, but remember, you are smarter than you know you are. Instinct will kick in and you will act – hopefully. Choking is a real hazard for small children, so some common sense tips:
Never let your small child eat anything unattended. Round foods like hot dogs should be cut into lengths so to lessen choking chances. The trachea is roundish and round food loves to lodge in the opening. As my story teaches, jelly beans can choke a kid in a second flat. Keep ipecac syrup around. If the kid does ingest some poison for which induced vomiting is the FIRST remedy, it is a life saver and time saver if one has it on hand. Once my little monster ate some of the berries from a Nandina out by her play area when she was little and induced vomiting was the remedy.
It worked as well as provided some comic relief as my little girl’s facial expression was comical as she’d never really thrown up as an adult would do. Of course she had spit up baby spew as baby’s do, but never a full on vomit like an adult, so the expression of confusion as her throat began to feel her tummy’s contents on their exit journey was priceless. She knew something was happening, she just didn’t know what!
Parenting is really common sense for the most part. As my kid’s mom experienced postpartum panic at being left alone with the little monster I was by default, thrown into the parent mode the minute we got home from the hospital. I had never changed a diaper in my life, but it looked rather easy, and it was. Parenting is truly instinctual.
When one gets a new puppy or kitten, we know what to do naturally, don’t we. Same/same for human babies. Hold them. comfort them, feed them, change them and let them do their thing…sleep, pee, poop, eat, cry, sleep, cry, eat, pee, poop and so on. In between the confusion and worry are the best times of your life. Relax. It’s natural and I guarantee ya it’ll come to ya as if by magic. Remember, in an emergency don’t panic! Don’t out think it. Let your instinct take over and you’ll find naturally you are doing the proper things and of course, if it is life threatening, call 911.
Lastly, if one wants to have a big laugh, call me. Not much funnier than watching my big, old tattooed arms changing a stinky diaper and walking around the room rocking a little bundle of joy in my arms. I am told I was very “cute” as I did it. Go figure! The kid needed something and Daddy was there. It was instinct I assure you, so relax, remember to use caution and have a blast!
Kids so rock…at least until they get old enough to tell their parent “You don’t known nothing!” Then retroactive abortion to say, age 21, is a viable option, right? Just kidding.