The Finger Sweep

This morning Logan was choking on a piece of peanut butter toast.  He was looking at me, mouth open, no air or sound coming out, looking very concerned.

I used the finger sweep.

Choking is my biggest fear as a parent right now.  We are a middle class family living in the United States.   We don’t have to worry about bombs dropping on our house, and I don’t have to worry about giving my child the basic necessities of life, so this is as scary as it gets.  But every time he chokes on something, I go into fight or flight mode; my heart races, I get tense, and I start shaking.  This is not beneficial for my dormant panic/anxiety condition.

The finger sweep is my best friend.  Any time Logan doesn’t swallow to perfection, I have my finger shoved into his mouth, and I’m sweeping out whatever was in there.  I can’t help it.  I’m like a cat ready to pounce whenever he is eating a meal.  I couldn’t even guess how many times I’ve done this to him.

This is a legitimate concern, right?  Or is it?  Would he be able to simply cough it up himself if I gave him a few seconds?  Surely, when he snacks and I’m not paying attention, he has saved himself from choking.

The first time he choked was really scary.  He was only 9 months old.  We were at Chipotle, and for some reason we thought it would be OK for him to eat the chips since we were breaking them up.  But he started choking and I sprung into action.  I grabbed him out of the high chair, turned him upside down over my arm, and pounded on his back.  I had my finger shoved in his mouth, trying to find the chip.  I was yelling at the Chipotle workers ‘He’s Choking.  Help!’.   Then he started coughing and I knew he was alright.  In the process, I had somehow given him a bloody lip.  I was so shaken after the episode, that I couldn’t even finish my delicious Chipotle Bol (a ‘bol’ is a ‘bowl’ for those of you not familiar with Chipotle  But seriously, how could you not be familiar with Chipotle).

Since then, he’s choked several times, usually because he likes to shove massive amounts of food into his mouth at at the same time.  I have never had to do the heimlich maneuver, and I am thankful for this.  He just doesn’t get the concept of eating one piece of food at a time or eating slowly.  I know all kids aren’t like this.  Maybe he just likes to keep me on edge?

I’m sure as Logan gets older, I will encounter many new, more dangerous situations that I may or may not be able to control.  His first year of life I had to worry that he would just stop breathing while he was sleeping.  Now it’s choking.  I just can’t wait to see what’s next!

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