Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The Woe of the Watermelon

First full day of living like a single-mom... and I almost miserably fail!

I know how careful you have to be with infants. Yes, they are resilient... but only to a certain extent. I know you watch their necks, even after they can hold their heads up on their own. I know not to leave them unattended on a couch or a bed or the changing table etc. I know to be careful when using toys like a jumperoo etc because fingers often end up where fingers aren't meant to go and then said fingers get pinched etc.

But... today I almost failed miserably. It could have been fatally, even. (but honestly, every accident with children could have potentially been fatal)

So... I was skyping with Grammy and Papa to show them just how much Jack likes watermelon. We were chatting about if I had been able to talk to Matt since he left. All the while I'm feeding Jack a little piece of watermelon. Now, Jack does not have teeth. So he is really just gumming the watermelon. It's cut up and on a fork.

My mom suddenly says something along the lines of, "Is he ok?" I look down and he's still chomping on watermelon... separate.from.the.piece.on.the.fork! He had chomped off a piece of the watermelon and was munching away on it. He had that look in his eyes of, "This wasn't a good idea!" that he gets sometimes when he bites down on a toy or his finger. He wasn't turning red or anything, but I had a minute of horror where I thought he was about to choke on the piece in his mouth.

I quickly turned him around and wiped out his mouth with his burp cloth. I got a lot of the watermelon juice but he was still making that face and making the chewing motion. I could feel him breathing, but I still wanted to be sure. I began patting him on the back like I was burping him to help him swallow or spit up any pieces that might get stuck. He still chewed away. I wiped the inside of his mouth with my finger back and forth and back and forth. And back and forth again for good measure. I felt fairly far back in his mouth to feel for pieces of watermelon, but felt none. I patted his back again, harder this time. He didn't like that. I know I didn't hurt him, but I'm sure he didn't understand why the yummy watermelon was taken from him and why Mommy was doing all this. So he began to cry.

I took that for a good sign. A choking baby wouldn't be able to cry, right? So I scooped him up and put him on my shoulder for some snuggles. He calmed down immediately and we went back to life as normal. I gave him another little taste of the watermelon and he seemed perfectly normal again (not that he really ever was choking). I nursed him briefly (literally less than a minute) just to make sure all the stray pieces were swallowed and we were back on track.

But... there was the tiniest piece of watermelon that had been in his mouth. It was smaller than the circumference of a dime and thinner than a manila envelope. It was less than the width of my baby fingernail. So very, very small. That piece could easily have been larger. Large enough to get lodged in my baby's throat. Large enough for him to choke on. Large enough to block his airway.

I got caught up in my conversation with my mom and I assumed Jackson would be ok chewing on the watermelon. Watermelon is a soft fruit that breaks away easily. I should have known better. I wasn't paying the necessary attention to my child and it could have been a disaster. Instead, I was blessed and Jackson was not choking and I was just over reacting.

But... it could have been so different.

Lesson 972 of parenthood: Don't take solid foods for granted with an infant! Or a toddler, or a young child, or a grown human being!

Solid foods can get the best of an of us! People choke on food all the time.

Sigh. Calm self. Slow heart rate. Watch the baby when he's eating watermelon.

Anyone else had a near-death-but-not-really experience with his or her little one?