Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Before I Knew Enough To Worry

I began my foray into motherhood with very little fears. I felt my motherly intuition kick in as soon as Isabelle was placed into my arms. And somehow, I was fortunate enough that my intuition told me this little baby was going to be just fine.

So things progressed throughout Isabelle's first year without me worrying about much of anything. I happily stayed naive to all of the possible dangers.

And then when Isabelle was about 8 months old, we were at my parents house and my dad gave her a cheerio. A WHOLE cheerio. I took it away from her before she got it to her mouth. But my dad would have none of that. He told me to loosen up. He said cheerios were the perfect first food for a baby because even if they swallowed them whole, they had a hole in the middle so the baby could still breathe.

Now in my defense, this was my smart, all-knowing father talking. It seemed logical, especially coming from him. So I shrugged my shoulders and said: "Sure, why not?" And you know what? Isabelle did just fine with that cheerio, and with the 597,204 she has had since then.

Fast forward to 5 years later. Alex did not use a pacifier or suck his thumb, but he loved to put anything else he could find in his mouth. I first encountered this when he swallowed a penny. Fortunately, he got that out on his own. A few weeks later, we weren't as fortunate when he swallowed a large piece of glitter from one of Isabelle's crafting kits. I had to call 911 that time.

Once he began on solid foods, Alex proved to be a non-discriminating choker. He choked on toast, oatmeal, crackers...basically anything that made its way into his mouth was potential choking material. So I began to tear or cut his food into minuscule pieces. And I longed for the days when I didn't know better; the days when I believed my mother's intuition was invincible.

But those days were so far in the past and I now lived in fear every time I fed Alex anything. So the cycle repeated all over again with Olivia. Although she was not a choker like Alex, I just didn't have the guts to risk it. Eric had to gently force me to give the kids bigger pieces as they got older so that they could learn to eat like normal people. I'm just getting to the point where I can give Gracie normal sized bites.

Alex has gotten better, although we rarely get through a pizza without him taking too large of a bite and choking. But he's making progress, and I am too. I think back to those early, naive days of my motherhood with some wonder. What I wouldn't give to still believe that you can't really choke on a cheerio because it has a hole in the middle.


Sonshine 8:02 AM  

What is it with the second born child?! He was my easy choker on anything. I did the same thing giving him really small bites. I even would give him just one bite at a time on his tray for him to pick up and eat so he wouldn't stick too much in his mouth.

At any rate, I am just now getting where I don't cut things up on each of my kids' plates. My three older boys are old enough now to cut their own bites.

Thanks for sharing! :) Oh I have the next letter of my parenting series up today. :)

Nancy 10:01 AM  

The hole in the middle sounds like a logical explanation, doesn't it?

I was opposite of you -- I cut everything small for the first one and was braver with the second one.

Ally 10:58 AM  

I was like that with my 1st child too. I dont like to think about all the times my 2nd son choked, but it was rarely on food. He could stuff his face while eating and never choked, he has calmed down with that but still eats like a vaccum. My youngest son is only 2 months and when he starts to get active I know what to look out for and I feel better prepared.

Great blog, will definetly come back!

Jennifer 12:20 PM  

My oldest is a choker too. It is so scary. Of course he is always stuffing his mouth too full also, which doesn't help.

Jennifer 1:21 PM  

My son hasn't choked on anything yet, however he is always sticking something in his mouth. If it is on the floor... wait! Nope... it isn't on the floor... it is in his mouth! I don't know what I am going to do with him! My daughter didn't stick nearly as much in her mouth as he does.

Melissa 3:41 PM  

Hi! You have been tagged! please visit for your meme instructions. I hope you don't mind, but I don't "talk" to many people online and I find your blog wonderful and inspiring. It seems that we have many things in common, at least as far as one can tell via the internet!

Kirby3131 6:42 PM  

I'm 42 years old and I still choke on everything. Rice is my biggest choking hazard. One grain of rice!

I hope your little ones stop their choking soon so they don't end up like me :)

Baby Tunnel Exodus 11:18 PM  

My second son swallowed my pearl earring. Betcha we could compare 911 stories, lol, Praise God our babies survived our invincibility, eh? I didn't have a choker, but I think it's because I was neuroticly preventative. Meet my Pampered Chef food chopper. Oh, the use it's seen. :o) I love your blog. Blessings, Whitney

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