Listening a lifesaver
‘I ate Duncan’s bauble Mummy’
‘I ate Duncan’s bauble, was very tasty’
What do you mean Elliot? Are you talking about the little balls you were playing with ( they are like rubber marbles) that belong to Duncan? Did you eat one?
‘Yes, eat bauble, very tasty’
Fingers down the throat
A chill passes over Mum. She thinks. The rubber ball is small, it will be OK. No the rubber ball might get stuck in his intestine. Mum grabs Duncan. Thrusts him under her arm and runs to the bathroom.
‘Elliot I told you over and over not to put toys in you mouth. We must get it out.’
Elliot began to whimper. The whimper turned into a throttled scream as Mum thrust two fingers down his throat and held him over the sink. With a tickle at the back of his throat he gagged.
More than food came out
Mum speedily took her fingers out and a wash of old food and drink flowed after them. Then the rubber ball shot out and bounced around the sink.
A sigh of relief, a crying child. Has he learnt that when Mum says ‘ don’t put toys in your mouth’, she is saying it for his benefit? We shall see.
He’s too old to do this
The concern and surprise has been that Elliot is of an age which we thought would be beyond the ‘putting things in his mouth’ stage let alone swallowing them. There have been small pieces of lego, little balls, small characters, miniature trains around the room for months. None have been eaten by him or any brother before him.
There were no clues
Elliot has a full set of teeth… acquiring them well ahead of his brothers. He does not have, nor wanted, a favourite thing to suck. He does love his food. He eats at every meal with enthusiasm, so why eat a rubber ball?
He knew it was wrong
It is likely that if he ate food he should not have taken, he would not have said a word. Telling his Mum ‘I ate a bauble’ was a clue. He knew he had done something wrong or he was feeling uncomfortable.
He knew his Mum would listen
The learning we took from this was that age is no definer of whether a developmental stage has passed or not. It is only a steer. The alertness of a parent or carer and the consideration of all options at all times is what protects children. Hard as it is intelligent listening matters day in day out.
- Never define actions by the age of a child alone.
- Each child may have a different reaction to the same thing.
- Try and develop your rear facing eyes as early as possible!
- Share unusual events with other parents