Thursday, July 31, 2008

Twice in one week

Disclaimer: Mom, this is not to make you feel guilty--it's just for posterity's sake.

Rachel has almost asphyxiated twice this week, both times due, in part, to my very own mother!

The first was on Pioneer Day when we went up to my Uncle Bruce and Aunt Sara's place in Salt Lake. They live right downtown, close to the Gateway, so parking is atrocious. We fed the meter coin after coin until we had paid for a half hour's visit worth, then went inside to find Josie.

It's an interesting apartment building; kind of reminded me of UVSC's campus. The cement floors were stained burnt orange and the cement walls were painted lime green. What wasn't orange or lime green was plain old grey. The pipes, which were plainly visible because there was no ceiling, were painted pink. There were black and white pictures of rusty metal things hanging on the walls.

It was...interesting.

I was happy to get out of the lobby and into their apartment, which was still orange and green, but at least had a lovely grand piano and acceptable artwork.

We sat and visited, munching on grapes. Rachel, always a mooch, was taking grapes from whoever would give them to her. She's pretty good about chewing things, but grapes are a little scary, so we try to give her only half a grape at a time, or hold the grape until she bites it in half and then give her the whole thing.

My mom was trying the latter method when Rachel sucked the whole grape right into her mouth. It seemed like she was chewing it up alright, but my mom warned me that she had some big pieces in there when Rachel started walking from her to me.

No sooner had Rachel arrived at my feet did she start gagging. There's not a whole lot scarier than watching your baby choke.

I encouraged her to cough it up so that she could rechew it, but it seemed to be lodged in there pretty deep. I watched her face turn redder and redder. Then she stopped making any noise and just stood there, her gag reflex going wild.

Hardly thinking, I scooped her up, crossed my legs, and balanced her, slightly upsidedown, over my knees. After a few good whacks on the back, she spat out the half-chewed grape (and a handful's worth of milk) into my waiting hand.

"You're an unflappable mother," my mom remarked.

Sara came over with a cloth to take away the grape/milk mess from my hand.

"Well, no, she's shaking," she said, as if to assure my mom that I actually was worried.

And I was quite worried. After all, my baby couldn't breathe. It was quite alarming then, and it was quite alarming tonight.

Rachel and I went to a pool party bridal shower for Maddie Nielson with my mom and Josie this evening. It was a fun idea, even if most of the women there sat around the pool talking about what a cute idea it was without ever actually getting in the water.

We got in the water, though. Rachel loves swimming, so we had little say in the matter. She would have gone in with or without us. There were a few others in the pool. My mom was the only one from her generation in the pool. There were several of Maddie's age in the pool, including myself. And there were plenty younger girls in the pool, around Josie's age. And a couple of babies, of course.

After a while, my mom suggested that she hold Rachel while Josie and I had a race with some of the girls.

Rachel willingly went to my mom. She just loves her grammy.

I took my glasses off and placed them on the side of the pool.

"I'm just going to leave my glasses here, 'kay, Mom?"

"They should be fine there," she said. All the traffic was on the opposite side of the pool, so they really were pretty safe.

I was just standing there, blindly, while we tried to coreograph our racing path, when Josie tapped me on the arm.

"Uh, Nan," she said, pointing to my mom and Rachel.

I looked over. Rachel was looking at me from under the water, her eyes wide, and a little bubble of air escaped from her lips.


I'm not in the habit of calling my mom "mommy" quite so much anymore, but apparently when I'm petrefied I still do. I know I just said, "There's not a whole lot scarier than watching your baby choke," but I have to admit that watching your baby being held under water is a whole lot scarier.

Let the record show that this incident was entirely accidental. My mom had Rachel on her hip, thinking that the water was shallow enough where she was standing that Rachel was above the water. It wasn't though!

Rachel was a real trooper! She didn't cry or act scared or anything (I, on the otherhand, did). She didn't even look scared under the water (I, on the otherhand, did). She just looked...fascinated. Her eyes were wide, but not with terror. Instead she was curiously watching everything from under the water, blowing her bubbles.

She obviously can't have been under the water too long because there was no evidence that she inhaled any water. She didn't come up coughing and her breathing wasn't raspy.

I just thank my lucky stars and bars that she already knew how to blow bubbles...and that we'd had some time to practice a few minutes before. She has this odd habit of forgetting which way to breathe when she blows bubbles and instead of blowing out she inhales a mouthful of water and comes up sputtering. I can just imagine what she was thinking while she was under there,

"Mommy always says to blow out when my face is in the water. Always out. Never in. So I'll just blow out. I'll just blow out. Out, out, out. Still blowing out. Hmmm...when do I get to blow in again?"


  1. I don't even have a kid and that is one of my fears. You know, having one of my kids chocking. I wouldn't know what to do. Maybe I shouldn't think about having a kid for awhile. I'll give it another two years and see if I'm ready. On another thought, I don't think anything can prepare me for motherhood.

  2. So it isn't enough for me to have a few moments of ignomious infamy--you have to save it for posterity? Thanks, Nanners.

  3. that would be sooooo scary!!!! Yikes! I'm glad she's ok!!!

  4. I realize I am pregant so my emtions are a little out of control but I cried reading your post! Scary! I am glad Rachel is ok and was not too scared the second time.

  5. Scary! Andy and I just took an Infant CPR class and that made me feel so much better (knowing what to do), as choking has always been one of my fears about motherhood!

    And Aunty Myrna, I think the grape thing could have happened to anyone. At least you had warned Nancy that there were big pieces still!

  6. Holy cow, you're an amazing teacher, mom! I don't know if I would have thought to even teach that, but thanks for the push! I can't believe she's a year old...that means I'm due in three months, aaaah!

  7. Nancy, it was so good to have you come and visit! And, I'm glad (of course) that Rachel survived. I was watching and was getting ready to intervene if you hadn't.

    For the record, only on of the pipes is painted pink (Jessica painted her own bedroom). They are their natural colors in our unit and painted gray elsewhere in the building.

  8. Hello again. I think those are both really scary episodes, but I have to admit I grinned at Rachel's total interest in the world under the water...