DangerMouse loves my mom's cooking. Clearly, she already has excellent taste and a refined palate. We've been feeding her "table food" (versus baby food from jars, or separate food specially prepared for her), and witnessing her culinary development is nothing short of delightful.
My amazing, independent daughter LOVES to feed herself. She has manages to wear as much as she eats (from what I can tell), but it's important to let her grow and learn to do things for herself. None of us are instant experts, and watching her learn reminds me of how incredible all the things we take for granted are. (Parenting bonus: if she's feeding herself, guess who also gets to enjoy a hot meal?)
Last Monday, Mom, Genevieve, and I were having lunch together. We had leftovers, and Mom had gently convinced me to let Genevieve feed herself for the first time. Genevieve reveled in the meal; a tomato and eggplant stew, and it looked fetching smeared across her face.
Mom noticed something red on Genevieve's face; so we got out a washcloth and started to clean Genevieve up.
"Is that a hive?" Mom asked.
"It can't be," I said, "She's had everything in this dish before."
A few minutes passed, and there were more hives on her face, and on her chin(s). While Mom held on to Genevieve, I packed the diaper bag quickly, and got on the phone with the advice nurse.
The advice nurse asked the usual questions, and Genevieve was cheerful and not having any sort of breathing issues (or hives or a rash anywhere else on her body). After consulting with the doctor, she told me to give Genevieve some children's Benadryl and bring her directly to the emergency room, just in case.
We didn't have any children's Benadryl in the house. Mom dashed out to the drugstore and was home in a flash, we medicated Genevieve and got in the car promptly. I called Andrew to let him know to meet us there, and with Mom in the backseat (making sure that Genevieve didn't stop breathing), we got to the emergency room in excellent time.
At that point, the hives were completely gone. Genevieve was positively *giddy* from the Benadryl, and had her charm dialed up to eleven. We were in and out of the emergency room in under two hours, with some guidelines as to what to look for and when to worry. (For the record, I am a professional worrier these days.)
Genevieve took a supervised, and yet, disturbingly long nap (courtesy of the Benadryl, of course), and all was well in the world.
I'm usually pretty good in stressful situations, and while I was a little shaky and terrified of the worst case, I held it together until the car ride home. If I have learned anything from my mother, it's that you hold it together during a crisis. Once the crisis is over, you can scream, cry, throw up, whatever you need to do. But when you're in the thick of it you Hold. It. Together.
"I'm ready to go and cry now," I told Andrew, "This parenting thing is harder than I ever thought it would be."
It's true. As a parent, you selfishly hope that emergency rooms are for strangers' children, that you can bubble wrap your kids, and keep them in a safe embrace foreverandever. But children have a pesky way of growing up and seeking their own experiences and answers, no matter how much you want to keep them safe.
It's a hard road, full of lots of small steps. Or in our case, small bites.