So I recently became CPR-certified. I did not expect the experience to make me as anxious as the circumstances that might require me to use the skills I learned in class, but with my overactive imagination, I really ought to have known better.
I may or may not have teared up when our instructor showed us YouTube videos of old episodes of Rescue 911 (even my love for William Shatner could not distract me from the perils of suburban toddlers), and I couldn’t help but imagine sweet Miss E whenever I looked at Baby Anne, the doll we practiced infant CPR on.
But it was one of the stories our instructor told that really wound me up. I wanted to become CPR-certified specifically so I might be able to handle a choking situation (I’ve fretted over this before), but she told us about an infant who’d managed to find and swallow a screw and was not able to be saved. The idea that my daughter might be a victim of my carelessness (in no way a judgment on the family who lost their child, and entirely a comment on my inability to adequately tidy and vacuum a room) is staggering. I’ve always left her to her own devices on the floor, and we’ve child-proofed with the help of a study at our local children’s hospital, but still I find myself compulsively checking on her every sixty seconds to be sure she hasn’t found something more substantial than a dust bunny to gnaw on.
I told myself all throughout my pregnancy that the real worry would begin once my baby was born. Scared as I was, my rushes to triage for decreased fetal movement can’t hold a candle to Miss E’s heart-harrowing screams in the middle of the night. I can imagine all sorts of terrible things that might befall her, but I’m also trying to remember something else I learned in class: with children, the best response is to do as much as possible to prevent an accident. Hopefully I’ll never need to use the skills I learned.
And given that I have learned them and Miss E has demonstrated some rather impressive pincer grasp moves lately, I probably don’t need to cut her blueberries into sixteenths anymore.