Thursday, December 4, 2008


I had a terrible dream last night. Daddy Shortbread, the girls, and I were all sitting in the living room listening to a gentle rain slapping the windows, when I happened to look out and spy an enormous funnel cloud just beyond the treeline.

"TORNADO!" I hollered in disbelief, and we all sprang from our seats and ran for the basement. I could hear the trademark locomotive sound of the tornado getting closer as we all pounded down the steps. Downstairs, I watched through the casement windows as the inky black swirling cloud moved with slow precision along our neighbors trees. Each one exploded with a deafening bang, leaving behind a splintered stump. I began to fear for the giant spruce beside our house. When I turned to glance out the window nearest the spruce, I realized that Bug was gone.

I dashed up the stairs, hearing the living room windows explode and rain begin to blow in as I frantically searched for her. I found her in the garage casually selecting a juicebox from our spare refrigerator. She was puzzled as to why I was so panicked. I had just grabbed her arm to pull her back downstairs when I woke up with a pounding heart.

I knew immediately why I had dreamt that. Last night I had one of those scary mothering moments where time seems to stand still and you feel your brain scrambling like a rat in a cage as you take action.

The girls were watching "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" in the living room, while they ate their dinners on a picnic cloth. They were excited to get to watch TV while eating dinner, an almost-never occurrence in our house. But it was the first Christmas special of the season, and they had both worked so hard on homework that afternoon that I felt they deserved a treat.

I was putting away laundry while they ate, and had just happened to glance into the living room, when I noticed a strange look on Bear's face, who had turned to look at her sister instead of the TV.

"Mom, I think she's choking!" Bear said urgently.

"I CAN'T BREATHE," Bug mouthed to me, struggling to try to cough. In what must have been three seconds, but what felt like twenty minutes, I ran to her and jerked her to her feet. I thumped her back and was just about to turn her around to do the Heimlich Maneuver when she managed to cough up the offending bite - a long, particularly fibrous piece of broccoli.

It scared me to death. All night long I kept dreaming different hair-raising scenarios where I was desperately trying to save her.

Postscript: I asked Bear what she would have done if I hadn't been there. "The Heimlich," she said promptly. Thank God for that, but we'll be reviewing it after school to make sure that they BOTH know how to perform it.


Anonymous said...

That is SSOOOO scary! Choking freaks me out b/c it could happen anytime at any age. I even choked while home alone with my son once (when he was very small) and I was freaking out and I finally got it up. I was about to self-Heimlich on the kitchen chair. Glad everything is okay.

Nana said...

Do you remember when Uncle Awesome starting turning blue while choking on baby food? He was only 4months old and was sitting in his high chair. I was feeding him when suddenly he started choking and turning blue. It was the day before Christmas - the year we spent Christmas in the TLQ at McGuire AFB in New Jersey. Your dad was out shopping at the time, frantically trying to find Lite Brite (popular toy that year - 1975 - and nearly everyone was sold out. It was the only thing you were asking Santa to bring. Thank God he finally found one!

It's a terrible feeling so see someone not able to get their breath. I was scared to death that I wasn't going to be able to get him breathing again. You were quite scared, too.

And then, of course, there was Mamaw's attempt at stealing the show by choking on a piece of our wedding cake which resulted in a trip to the ER.

Definitely review the Heimlich Maneuver with the girls. We never know when we're going to need to use that to save someone's life.

And tell Bug "no more funny business!" Stories like this are scary to us grandparents!!

#1quiltinggrandma said...

Thank God and Jenn our Bug is O.K.! Perhaps a brief discussion with Bug pointing out why Mom and Dad have always insisted she take little, as in small, bites is very important would be appropriate. Love you all. Grandpa

#1quiltinggrandma said...

Holy Smokes Jenn. That is scary. No more surprises, please!

Grandpa and I got home tonight at 6:45 while helping a client after the death of her mother. It was great to walk into our sanctuary and just relax and close the door to the outside world.

Everybody stay safe. Hugs and kisses to Bug and Bear.
Love you all, Grandma

jenn said...

How do you choke on cake?

I do remember that with Uncle Awesome. Scary stuff!